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Sikh banned from wearing turban

india Updated: Aug 15, 2007 04:09 IST

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A Sikh man belonging to a volunteer reserve police force in Ireland has been banned from wearing his headgear.

The Sikh man, who has not been named, is a qualified IT professional who decided to join the Garda Reserve, the volunteer reserve section of Ireland's police force Garda Siochana.

Ireland's Integration Minister Conor Lenihan on Monday said that immigrants to the country must accept Ireland's culture but acknowledged the importance of the turban in the Sikh community.

"If we are to take integration seriously, people who come here must understand our way of doing things. When the president and ministers travel to the Middle East, they accept cultural requirements of the country and the culture they are operating in. It is a vice versa situation with regard to Ireland," he said.

Male Sikhs 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.

As turbans are worn by Sikh police officers elsewhere, most notably the London Metropolitan Police, a compromise may be reached, news portal reported.

In June, Sikhs in France filed a case before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in Strasbourg challenging a French law that demands that turbans be taken off while being photographed for identity cards after Shingara Mann Singh, 52, a French national for over 20 years, was denied a replacement driver's licence in 2005 and again in 2006 because he refused to remove his turban.