No ban on Sikh turban in France
Following recent allegations regarding the so-called restrictions imposed on the wearing of the Sikh turban in France, the Embassy of France would like to provide once again clarifications and clear misunderstandings.
New Delhi, 02 February 2016
France upholds the freedom of religion, as well as the right not to have one, and opposes discriminations on this ground.
There is no ban on the wearing of turbans. French law in this matter is very precise: the restriction applies to the wearing of all visible religious signs, without any discrimination, and it applies only to public schools. It leaves it to the heads of public schools to take the most appropriate measures, so that it is implemented in a sensitive manner.
This measure has been explained to the Indian authorities and representatives of the Sikh community in France, with whom a regular dialogue has been established. There has been no particular problem in its application. The other four of the five obligations for Sikhs have not encountered any problems either. The Sikhs of France understand and have assimilated the laws on laïcité (French principle of separation between the State and religious institutions) and practical solutions have been found to reconcile their religious practice with the principles of the French Republic.
Outside the premises of public schools, wearing the Sikh turban is very much allowed in public space, contrary to the allegations of certain radical organizations. Only the burkha is banned in public places, for obvious security reasons.
Furthermore, neither Sikhs wearing turbans in the streets nor Sikh shrines were ever subject to any hostility in France.