US town judge orders Sikh to remove turban

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United States | Asia Samachar | 22 April 201

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A Sikh businessman is raising issue with a local town judge in New York who asked him to remove his turban in court.

Harjit Singh Paul, who was in court for a case filed by a customer, was shocked when the judge asked him to remove his turban.

“I felt like I wanted to cry,” he told the CBS6, a New York based television channel, which carried the news. “It was really humiliating, hurtful, that he had made me to take it [turban] off.”

Equally interesting is to read some of the comments to the story on the news channel’s website.

“His court,his rules,” said one reader.

To this, another reader came back arguing that the First Amendment of the US Constitution prohibits governments from restricting an individual’s religious practice.

“If a Jew was present in court, he would not have been told to take off his yarmulke as it is a sacred part of the Jewish religion and is seen as a way of respecting God,” he reasoned.

Another reader, using the handle of Jaswinder Kaur, had this to add: “Wearing a turban is NOT the same thing as wearing a hat. A hat is a fashionable entity while a turban is an article of faith. Of course there is a security issue but that could be taken care in a respectable manner – such as taking off the turban BEFORE going into the courtroom. Why do it in public when that is considered, at least in Sikhism, humiliating and disrespectful?…”

Another reader disagreed, saying: “You may practice your religion however your practice ends when you enter the legal system.”

To this, reader Anoop Singh responded: ” I went in for jury duty in Binghamton with turban on, that judge did not have a problem with with. So interpretations vary. Also had a stint as Chemistry teacher in Washington DC – had to go to a court as a part of paperwork and taking an oath, that judge was OK with my wearing a turban. We respect the law and pledge allegiance to our country just as all citizens do.”

See more comments here.

 

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]

 

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