The French Ban:
Through the Eyes and Hearts
of Sikh Youth in France

Special to SikhNet
February 2oth, 2004

A young Sikh in France, Manprit Singh, submitted this letter to the SikhNet News.

We are young Sikhs in France. Some of us go to school and some have started higher education. We wear patkas or small dastaar. This has been allowed by the schools that we go to.

We are very grateful for the support many of you have given us including the petitions. We do not feel alone anymore. But it is our humble appeal that please ask us what form of letter and petition should be posted. There is a danger some of the well intentioned petitions and letters and statements will in fact harm us and may even deprive us of the privileges we enjoy at the moment. Our intention and our desire is to be able to wear the turban like any other Sikh around the world.

We in France understand very well what the problem and the issues are, both here and in the terminologies being used by Sikhs around the world. In these last few weeks, we as a community had to grow up very fast and learn to engage with the government in a way that we can protect our right to wear the turban. We have had advice from well wishing French people, journalists and sympathetic politicians.

We again humbly appeal to you. Please treat us as your children, your younger brothers, your coming generations. But please do not make things difficult for us. We have kept our belief in the Gurus against many odds here. We are a small community. Everyday we see young Sikhs coming from Punjab who have cut their hair. We have not been influenced by them. We have stood up to many pressures and challenges in this country. But we cannot stand up to difficulties created by our own community around the world.

Please do not make it difficult for the government to find an exclusion for us. Please ask us and consult us. We are quite helpless at the moment caught between two forces. There is this draconian law coming in. And there are all these Sikh groups from around the world who are making declarations and legal threats at the government which may make things difficult for us. Surely, we, the potential victims have to be taken into account. Surely we should have some input into the issue, statements and petitions.

We remain at the mercy of your understanding and common sense. May the Guru guide us through this with wisdom.

Responses and communication to the Manprit Singh's letter should be sent

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