Sikhs open their school near Paris
Sunday, 16 September , 2007, 15:43
Paris: Sikhs have opened a school catering exclusively to the community near the French capital in the wake of tough laws banning the wearing of traditional turbans in public schools.
The school in Bobigny opened on Saturday. Sikh men are required by religion to cover their hair at all times by a turban, an article of faith and an intrinsic aspect of their identity.
Six Sikh boys have been expelled from French schools since the controversial law banning religious symbols was passed in 2004. Several Sikh boys have dropped out of mainstream education in protest.
A Sikh entrepreneur whose son was one of those expelled after he refused to remove his turban in class built the new school, BBC reported. Some 10,000 Sikhs live in France.
It is hoped that a Sikh college will open later this year to allow older Sikh boys to pursue higher education without any hindrance.
In June, the Sikh community in France filed a case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg after Shingara Mann Singh, 52, a French national for over 20 years, was refused a replacement driver's licence in 2005 and again in 2006 after he declined to remove his headgear