Friday, 28 November 2008

Sikhs and turbans

I have to admit that this story really rather puzzles me.

A Sikh man who wanted the right to wear a turban while being photographed for his French drivers' licence has lost his case in the European Court of Human Rights.

Shingara Mann Singh, a French national, lost a series of appeals in France against the authorities who refused to issue a new licence with a photograph of him wearing a turban.

Under French regulations, motorists must appear 'bareheaded and facing forward' in their licence photographs but the Sikh religion requires men to wear a turban at all times.

Mr Singh, 52, took his case to the ECHR but the Strasbourg-based court dismissed the case.

No, not the way that, as always seems to happen, the French go to Strasbourg they get their way and we almost never do (thus showing that European law is very similar to French and very different from our own).

No, it's something different. Why do the French authorities insist that he be photographed without his turban?

After all, he's always going to be wearing one so surely that's what you'd like his ID photo to look like, wouldn't you?

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