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Hard Talk State Versus Individual - Protection For Sikhs To Not Have Their Turbans Removed At Airports

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Original, Jun 21, 2016.

  1. Original

    Original
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    Hello Everyone

    This morning I received the following: pls click on the petition to read -

    Petition: Protection for Sikhs to not have their turbans removed at airports.

    What is the aim ? Is the state using legislation against potential offenders to protect innocent people from harm ? Or, using it to social engineer a preferred ideological system ?

    How do you see the encroachments of some rights against the backdrop of necessity in a democratic society?

    I thought I share it with the wider community and get a global view.

    Thank you
     
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    #1 Original, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
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  3. Admin Singh

    Admin Singh
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    @Original ji, thank you for pointing to an important topic!

    i think, its a nice way to invite an attention of the local govt. to do something concrete in this direction. However, I doubt if these online petitions are ever taken seriously by the local governments...

    @Tejwant Singh ji has been doing a ground breaking work in this direction, for a number of years, by creating an awareness about Sikhs Sikhi Sikhism at grassroots levels in USA and beyond.

    He is very active in real world interactive interfaith forums and doing a commendable work tirelessly. I would urge him to share his experiences on this very important issue plaguing the Sikhs worldwide.

    Thank you
     
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  4. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I never thought I had an issue last few years since tying a dastaar, but then someone pointed out to me... you have been through that full body scanner each time. I thought that pretty much everyone goes through it, or maybe my kara set off the metal detector... but last year I was put through it even though my kara obviously did not set it off. But anyway nobody has suggested removing the turban. I have hangups about tying it in front of people as it is, so having to remove and re-tie it in front of people in a public washroom would not be good. I'd end up in a bathroom stall, trying to use my phone as a mirror. (side note, even my husband doesn't get to see me tie it... only the finished product - because I know I am probably not doing it 100% correctly, but the finished product looks fine so the secret stays with me) but anyway Canada doesn't seem to be too bad with turbans. England doesn't either... I guess it helps that London has a fairly large Sikh population, and it seems like half of them work at Heathrow!
     
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  5. Original

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    Admin Singh, sorry for the dealyed response, but yes, contemporary issues require wider debate and discussion, particulary amongst those that are directly affected.
    ..not only that, but a more profund way of connecting people to their social n legal obligations [duty imposed by the state] and fundamental freedoms [human rights]. Governments can be made to listen, hence the petition.
    ..petitions are seen as a way of protesting against the political will of the state and forms a vital part of a democratic society. Not to avail such mechanical operatives to vent one's view, would mean, consenting to the otherwise proposed will of the state. And, since transparency and accountability can be measured, anyone can be brought to justify.
     
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  6. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    people have the power to make a change...together
    governments know, if the people are in a state of fear, they have them under control...

    hence why there always needs to be an 'enemy'...of some form...

    i've never been asked to remove my turban...yet.
    with my new job role, i'll be travelling a lot more...russia, czech republic, sweden....denmark...so lets see what happens :)
     
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  7. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Original ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Thanks for posting the petition. In fact, I am giving a PowerPoint presentation tomorrow to the TSA staff at the airport about the importance of the Sikh Turbans and by asking us to take it out has not done anything about the original objective which is to stop violence by the terrorists. This PowerPoint was created with the help of HLS, hence it is their property which I do not have the right to share.

    I hope the Law changes in the UK which is very unlikely but more importantly, it gives more exposure to the Sikhs and Sikh values. However, it is sad to see that only about 20,000 have signed the petition, a bit too few for any impact at all.

    What do you think is the reason behind the low number?

    We have the similar system here but the petition goes directly to the President of the US.

    The reason I said that this law is very unlikely to be passed because of 9-11 that changed everything. Before 9-11, I used to travel with my 3' Kirpan under my belt buckle like the picture below.
    Picture with Kirpan.jpg

    No stoppages at any airport. The real idea about this Kirpan exposure was to start a conversation which used to happen quite often.

    In fact, one day I jay walked the street in Los Angeles and on the other side found a couple of cops waiting to give me a $250.00 ticket. They got alarmed after seeing my Kirpan behind the belt buckle and asked me to raise my hands which I did. I told them, that if they smoked they could not touch my article of faith quite sternly. The trick worked and a conversation about Sikhi started. I was let go with smiles rather than a ticket.

    It is very easy to look like a Sikh. I have been shown a thin filmed 'bombs' which can easily be folded in a turban. Sadly, because of this we become the victims with deadly outcome.

    We are installing mirrors all around the country in a separate room where people can take their turbans off when asked and re tie them there rather than running to the first restroom. This is all due to the work being done with the HLS.

    Sikhs with the turbans serving in the Police and the defence forces will help us a lot to further our agenda of education.

    All this kind of work taking place around the world is to create awareness of Sikhi to the outer world.
    These are baby steps but of great importance as they say in Punjabi- Ik Lohar dee, Soh Sunhiar dee- One blow by an iron-smith is worth 100's by a Jeweler.

    We are the Jewelers and we will keep on hammering the Sikhi message.
     
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    #6 Tejwant Singh, Jun 22, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2016
  8. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    I am about to fly internationally again soon (next week) back to India and I will let you know how it goes!
     
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  9. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Bon voyage!
     
  10. Original

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    Dear All

    Sikhism is founded on humanitarian principles, more commonly referred to as, Human Rights Law. Article 18 of universal declaration of human rights [UDHR] clearly stipulates the "right" to freedom of thought, conscience and the practice of religion by/of the individual. And, since its a qualifying right, member states have a margin of appreciation within which they can tailor-make ceratin laws to meet certain "compelling" needs in the wake of, national security, health n wellbeing, morals, etc in a democratic society. Equally however, the individuals have a right to question the law making machine [LMM] how and why they've [LMM] come to a decision wth which the individuals fundamental freedoms have been tampered with and as a result, curtailed. In so doing, initiatives such as petitioning forms the very basis of a to-be-had, a wider consultation, where research n development for policy formulation will have to stand up to a very high standard of legal, moral, social and religious scruitnisation.

    The question in my view would first n formost be, what are the goals of the LMM? Are they using legislation as a non-excessive force against the wannabe offenders/violators to protect jo public from potential harm ? or, are they using legislation to social engineer a dominant ideology full of western values ? Is this force a mean to the end of protecting innocent people or is the ideology [western values] an eventual end in itself ?

    I've cited many a time the usefulness of a knife as a tool, which can also be abused and used as a weapon. Does that mean it should never have gone past the conceptual stage of invention ? Alas, no ! Similary, the abuse by the few in a law abiding state cannot be held reponsible for the curtailment of fundamental freedoms of the many and should not therefore be impeded to reform society.

    ...sorry, rehras vela and then dinner - speak soon ! until then - be good !
    CIAO
     
    #9 Original, Jun 22, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2016
  11. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Equally, there must be understanding of current events, is every notch of understanding or curtailment actually achieving anything? In the event that it is, then I personally think we owe it to society to understand that, in the event that it is not, then we must surely protest in any legal way we can, however as always logic, wisdom and common sense must be present, empathy is also good.Overall let us not forget how we look to outsiders, given the current 'look' of the terrorist element, which is quite close to the Sikh look, I think a bit of understanding is called for, just before anger and frustration, however, education remains the key.

    Probably a bit of both, the LMM will have many personalities present, good ones, and bad ones, I am sure there will be a mix of people carrying out all the agendas you have listed above, that is the facet of organisations, the job may get done, but there is always agenda, or agendas.

    A knife is not alone, almost anything can be used as a weapon, even a humble potato, a shard of ice, stale hard bread, the problems with knives is that they look like weapons, my memory of the kirpan as a child, was a fairly innocent looking item, a holy looking item, the blade had difficulty cutting through butter, however now we have cheap far eastern imported kirpans that would not look out of place in ali baba and the 40 thieves.

    I think the current time is hard for many travellers, personally I think a bit of grace would not go adrift, I also think it is fairly obvious which of the goals listed above are in play at any one time, cooperation to root out the offenders/violators is always a good thing, social engineering must be nipped in the bud at the time, I think it is up to the individual to ascertain how they feel am I being persecuted? am I being asked to be helpful? For is that not the beauty of Sikhism, that there are no right or wrong answers sometimes, just guidelines to get to that answer.
     
  12. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    Has there ever been a case where someone has been found to conceal a bomb, weapon within a turban?

    What gives rise to the need to ask someone to remove their Turban?

    Is Turban searching resulting in foiled terrorists attempts? whats the success rate?

    There are many people i know that just cut their hair, remove their turbans because it's just not worth the hassle...perhaps this is a strategy held by governments...i don;t know...
    Surely all the technology they have at the airports would be sufficient to detect anything of harm being concealed...
     
  13. Original

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    Good morning Everyone,

    I respond to both Harry & Chaz conversationally and not dialectically - thank you for your observations, acknowledged as valid and reasonable!

    Freedom v Abuse ?

    Human Rights ! Its a difficult one, because, on the one hand you have "freedom" and on the other "abuse" - nature of the beast, and striking the right balance between the two is a hard-wire act to follow. The nemesis of course, is, 'what will the horse eat if he were to befriend the grass ?'. This kind of theorectical thinking together with maxims, '...you have to be cruel to be kind' has no definite operatives from within which to draw the right conclusions.

    For example, UK government came under attack from the civil rights group on issues relating to welfare benenfits. They claimed the recent restructuring of the two-child tax credit allownace would disadvantage the Abrahamics [RC & Moslems], oppressing as it were, the freedom of religion of the minorities. And, that as a result, could give rise to a potential violation of article 18. This they argued is on the basis, that since, the minority in question on grounds of "conscience" did not use contraceptions, the giving them of a choice between poverty n breaking religious vows is a direct attack, albeit disguised, on their freedom of belief and conscience.

    The question for the turbaned Sikh could be argued on similar grounds that a govt or organisation enacted a policy that unfairly impacted on a minority religious group. The likely conclusion of such an argument would be a rebuttal on grounds of "public policy" on part the defendant [airport authorities], whereby the govt or organisations are given a margin of appreciation to legislate in the interest of jo public, national security, health n safety, etc. However, the question for Theologians and Human Rights Activists is whether this kind of "thinking" should go unchallenged ?

    As a social scientist I'm compelled to question my own conscience whether this'd be a move to social engineer a "particular" ideological concept [say, secularism] disguised as it were, reasonable legislation against the traditionalists religious concepts. Is this not a back door policy to endure complete social ostracisation for the minority group?

    Just my thoughts, but reality check is else where, as we all know ! WAHEGURU - remains unaffected !

    Good day !
     
    #12 Original, Jun 24, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2016
  14. chazSingh

    chazSingh Ireland
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    turnout isn't too bad on the petition...but obviously can be much much better.

    on social media, majority of folk sharing this are people who wear a turban...maybe that's why? its only a small percentage of everyone that calls themselves a 'sikh' that wear a turban...
     
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