Sikhs, Turbans and the Irish Police

You know what a reasonable, tolerant man I am except when I have to oppress idiots who disagree with me. Everyone knows that I’ll put up with anything except idiocy and intolerance.

So why has this turban thing got me so confused?

A Sikh is refused membership of the Garda reserve because he won’t take off his turban while in uniform. This is Ireland, so everybody instantly adopts entrenched and opposing positions. Insults are thrown.


Religious nutcase!!

Go back to India!

Stupid police!

I’ve heard people saying that the Sikhs’ religion should be respected, that the British police, the Canadian police, the US army, the British army and just about everybody else in the world allow Sikhs to wear their turbans while on duty.

This is true.

People will tell you that Sikhs are civic-spirited and decent people who have shown great courage in both World Wars and whose instinct is to contribute in a positive way to society at large.

This is undoubtedly true.

People say religious practice needs to be respected.

This is less true, though Sikhism seems to be at the fairly harmless end of the scale. Look at Rastafarianism, a religion that believes Haile Selassie – a dead, mass-murderering despot – is God. While you’re at it, look at the majority religion on this island, Catholicism. The followers of this religion worship a biscuit.

What to think? I don’t know.

On the one hand, the turban is an integral part of what it means to be a Sikh. It’s an article of faith, so to speak. Furthermore, we need diversity in all our public services – not just the police. And what harm can it be to allow the turban? That’s one thing I’m thinking.

The other thing I’m thinking is, why? What’s so important about any religion that it should get a free pass? Sikhs, I’m thinking, are fairly inoffensive people, except when they’re assassinating Indian heads of state and the like. They don’t try and tell me what to do with my private life. They’re law-abiding, upright and honest, so why not let them wear the symbol of their religion? Well, I answer myself, because that’s all it is: a religion.

It isn’t a race. It’s a religion.

Now I’m in a quandary.

What to think?

Well, I remember the Catholic maniacs who used to roam this land not so long ago and who are now merely hibernating. Suppose one of these guys decides to join the Garda Reserve? Suppose some quasi-fascist asshole like the revolting Justin Barrett should decide to oppress me in the name of his demented religion? And supposing the Justin-thing should decide that a uniform was the very thing to rally his supporters around him. And supposing the Justin-creature decided that his religion gave him the right to wear a cross on his uniform as a sign of his faith? And supposing this cross was a very special cross, with four equal-length legs, and little kinks at the end of them?

Well, that’s why, unfortunately, at the moment I’m tending to think the Sikhs should not be allowed to wear their turbans as part of a police uniform. Not because I have anything against them. I don’t. In fact, I think they’re generally a fine bunch of people.

It’s because I don’t see why any religion should be entitled to special treatment, and because, if a special exemption was made for Sikhs, our own home-grown fundamentalist dip-sticks would abuse it.

I am open to having my opinion changed about all this, however.

Now, on the positive side, I think Sikhs are exempt from the turban rule when they swim, though I’m not sure what the rule is about visiting outer space. I know the Guards have no interplanetary division, except at senior management level, but they do a lot of river- and sea-searches. Maybe he could join the sub-aqua unit. They might give him a reserve tank.

78 thoughts on “Sikhs, Turbans and the Irish Police

  1. I agree with you 100% Bock. How would it be if a Muslim Garda had to stop to pray (as they do five times a day ) instead of chasing that criminal down the street. Remember once in Ireland you could not work on the Sabbath day or you would go to hell. Keep religion out of state or we will end up like Britain and the rest of the world bowing to other religions in case we offend them and than when there is enough of them they will march down O’Connell street calling of our blood as they did in London.

    No Way, No thanks. If you come to our country you do as we do otherwise stay away.

  2. Sikh sues New York police

    By Emma Simpson
    BBC correspondent in New York

    Sikh men wear turbans to cover hair they cannot cut
    A Sikh man is suing the New York Police Department after he was dismissed from the force for refusing to remove his turban or shave off his beard.
    Amric Singh Ratour from Queens is accusing his bosses of discrimination on religious grounds.

    He had applied for a job as a traffic policeman two years ago.

    He passed all the required tests and was eventually sworn in as a new officer.

    But two months into the job, he said he was fired because he wouldn’t shave or wear a police hat instead of his turban.

    Mr Ratour was born and raised in New York and said that he felt betrayed because he had been denied an important expression of his religious faith.

    Sikh policemen have won the right in other countries

    A spokesman for the New York Police Department said there were other Sikh officers in the force who wore coverings under their uniformed hats.

    For instance, Mr Ratour’s father and brother were police officers and both decided to conform with the NYPD’s rules.

    But Amric Singh Ratour said he was determined to seek compensation and a change in policy.

    If he wins, a new precedent could be set. Mr Ratour’s lawyer said unlike some other countries there were no turban Sikhs working for any American police force. Mr Ratour’s case is gathering support.

    He is now being backed by Sikh policemen in Canada and Britain – places were Sikhs are allowed to wear traditional beards and turbans while on duty

  3. Hmm, how about the Rastafarians? For them, smoking the ganga is a holy sacrament that (apparently) brings them closer to Jah (God). Or our old friends the Pastafarians who would probably want to dress (and talk) like a pirate?
    All religious beliefs are (demonstrably) hokem. Further, I think the fact that someone believes in fairy tales should bar them from public office as it shows an inability to discern fact from fiction. But in the real world, who actually gives a crap if they wear turbans? They’d probably make great officers and it’s their own look out if someone grabs an end of it in a fight.

  4. “No Way, No thanks. If you come to our country you do as we do otherwise stay away.”

    Um, no thanks.

    Tough, next multiculooney please.

  5. If church and state are to be truly seperate exceptions like this cannot be made. it’s better this is nipped in the bud now and leave people know where they stand. By allowing this the floodgates will be opened to all sorts of other problems down the road. I read recently that post 9/11 many sikhs had abandoned their turbans. There is more onus on people moving into this country to accept our ways (within reason) rather than the other way around. If there are people from over 100 countries now living here and we take everything they want to do on board we are going to end up in a right mess.

  6. After looking at the Sikh Coalition website and the ammount of postings reporting alleged incidences of bias/racism, Sikhs are either treated really badly by most of the world or else have the worlds biggest chips on their shoulders, you decide…….

  7. This bloke asked if the Turban was kosher on duty, the Gardai said, “Grand”. Loads of Gardai training later, they tell the bloke, “sorry no turbans”. Thats a lame prank.

    IF the Sikh can’t wear his Turban, then I guess all pictures of Padre Pio, the pope,
    all statues of the Virgin Mary,
    all crucifixes, all St.Michaels medals, St.Brigids crosses,
    holy water, holy candles,
    misc. assorted catholic magic spells and items and prayers be removed from every public building(incl. schools), from each public servant(while on duty) and from every ritual associated with public sector workers.

    At least then we wouldn’t be hypocrits. Separating Church from state goes for all Churches.

    Then again, I’m against the idea of allowing religious practices/displays of religious belief to be observed anywhere except the home and designated religious buildings.

  8. Manuel: That’s for sure.

    Mr God-help-us: The issue is religious symbolism, not country of origin, immigration, race or anything else.

    What do you mean by multiculooney?

    S&C: There’s a law that says no Amy Winehouses in the police.

    Annie: I’m sure you’ll do whatever you want, and dead right too.

    Galwaywegian: Oh God. Here we go.

    Mr Darwin: The Rastas? Now there’s a flaky religion for you. Guys who believe an illiterate brutal dictator is God. Oh, wait: the majority religion in Ireland worships a biscuit.

    Seamus: Don’t make it a race or immigration issue. We need to keep our eye on the ball. There are plenty of home-produced religious looneys we need to watch out for.

    Niall: Yep. The Gardai fucked up by failing to deal with the turban issue immediately, but what would you expect from a gobshite outfit?

    I agree with you about religious symbols in State-funded facilities such as schools and hospitals. Apart from anything else, it seems to be unconstitutional

  9. There was a case a few years ago involving a member of the Gardaí who had some medical condition which made it difficult for him to shave. I’m not sure what the outcome was, but I do know that the only facial hair a Garda is allowed by the rules is a moustache. Sikhs wear very full beards. I wonder is that going to be an issue too?

  10. @ God Help Us.

    Just had a look at that Metropolitan Police site, it’s a mess (the organisation not the site). There wouldn’t be need for Jewish, Italian, Muslim, Gay………….support groups within the force if being Jewish, Italian, Muslim Gay or whatever wasn’t an issue. While I’m not standing up for the Gardaí for one moment, that Sikh spokesman (ooops person) who claimed that things here are 40 years behind Britain is talking c**p. This is a case where we should learn from they’re mistakes instead of going down the same road. Just remember Britain is a country which has a ban on Catholics from sitting on the throne so they’re hardly an model of multicultural sucess.

  11. Sorry Bock, did not mean to go down that road. But praying on a mate is religious symbolism.

    multiculooney………Multicultural-loonies, in others words people who support branding people instead of intergrating people.

  12. Oh right. I see.

    I just need to point out that Annie is a valued friend of this site, who happens to come from a different country.

    She is also not any kind of a loony, except the kind we like.

  13. I think church and state should be separate – but they are not. I’m going to jump in and agree with the no turban – no religious symbol of any kind actually – ruling, if only to open the door for some brave soul to sue for the removal of the catholic church’s symbols / ethos / ownership / ruling / patronising patroning of our schools, hospitals etc… etc…

  14. I’m trying to come up with something helpful but I can’t get past the thought of Amy Winehouse in a turban.

  15. Would a Sikh reserve filth be able to do the motor bike gig? If not, surely that would be discrimination of some sort. (That said, would be funny if the Turban unravelled in hot pursuit of a tosser in a Civic) Or could he be an undercover reservist, might look a bit obvious in the shiny brown suit and turban, scumbags would be onto him in a heartbeat.

    When a Sikh comes up to the pub for a pint, and talks to Limerick’s chances at the big dance, or joins the lads in Jackman park supporting the super blues, we’ll know more about Sikhdom. Until then, it’s a storm in a turban. Talk about church and state till the cows come home, we’re not the first or last and fair fucks to you Bock for the debate.

    Heard something on the radio recently, about the rural electrification scheme in the 50s (60s?). As the ESB traversed our banana republic, they had to figure out a way of enticing us to turn on and tune in. They ended up throwing in a free “Sacred heart light” as a sweetener. Now I hate these things, but I’d be sad of to see them go, knowing what I do now. Might be case of throwing the baby out with bath water.

    Why the fuck can’t he just wear a hat like the rest of them.

    Oh yeah, and what about our own fucking cultural identity?

  16. “No Way, No thanks. If you come to our country you do as we do otherwise stay away.”

    That sounds like that ugly fat cunt Lenihan talking. While I think that Ireland must be a secular state, (notice I said ‘be’ and not ‘remain’ as the ole Catholic Child Shaggers still have a lot of control in political affairs) I think that I would be good to integrate many aspects of the foreign cultures that are now living in Ireland.
    A thing like a turban, doesn’t cause offence and will not obstruct a Garda from doing his duty unlilke the Burka incidents in schools in France and the UK where facial contact is very important.
    We need to examine each aspect of foreign culture and see how we could integrate it (if at all) into modern Irish society, instead of the You’re Different, Change or Fuck Off attitude that wankstain Lenihan seems to be preaching.

  17. “She is also not any kind of a loony, except the kind we like.”

    Hee. Thank you Bocky.

    Maybe they should make some kind of special turban for Sikh cops. It could be turban-shaped in the Garda colours, or turban-coloured and Garda-shaped.

    I’m all for integration. And trying new things.

  18. I will not start yes I wil. l I have my own persoanal thoughts on religion and thats the point they are mine all mine. personal!!!!!
    I was about to suggest outer space would be a fine place for religion but what am I thinking they already own the heavens SPARE ME. Turbans, crosses, pitchforks, angels with pitchforks,….. Religion…. the wind beneath your wings.

  19. Oh for fuck’s sake, just give them their fucking turbans.

    If it had just gone ahead in the first place there’d be a photo in the papers of the recruit and we would all have gone ‘Aaaaw! Look at de purdy turban wurban! Are we the dead on multiculturalists.’ Like everywhere else in the civilized world.

    Fucking Kebab Boy strikes again.

  20. A mate of mine wears a light head covering – a bandanna type thing – as opposed to a full turban for everyday use. He says it fulfils his obligations but is unobtrusive and doesn’t attract unwanted* attention.

    It would be all but invisible under a garda cap. Could this be a compromise? To me, it would be the same as a cross on a chain worn under the shirt.

    * His word, not mine.

  21. Problems:
    A. When they graduate and everybody else throws their hat in the air, they’ll either feel left out or create an awful mess on the parade ground.
    B.If they can wear turbans, will the protestants be allowed to wear sashes, possibly even infiltrating the garda band and rubbing our noses in it on great occasions in Croke park. It’s bad enought that they let girls join the Artane Boys Band who now only show up if it suits them and certainly not when Cork are playing.
    C. According to God help us, praying on a mate is religious symbolism. Does the mate get any say in the matter? Will this practice stop fellow officers befriending their fellow officers, worried that they will be prayed on, or worse again, did he mean preyed on?

  22. “It would be all but invisible under a garda cap. Could this be a compromise? To me, it would be the same as a cross on a chain worn under the shirt.”

    I can definitely see this as the compromise. The person wearing the bandana/crucifix/whatever feels like they’re being faithful and the public don’t have to see it or care, y’know “outa sight, outa mind.”

    It would be a problem with the burkha though as it would affect the “operational efficiency of the officer”

  23. The multicultural debate is an important one though. often I find myself agreeing with the “integrate or F*ck off” brigade, but then I realise I’m being (mentally)simplistic. Integration is vital to avoiding the Ghettoisation I see all around me in Berlin.

    This is especially important when more aggressive cultures take advantage of the P.C. compliance culture the “West” has created.
    For one, the government has to take the issue of immigration seriously, secondly, immigrants should show a willingness to integrate and understand that, although their culture/beliefs are important, they will have to make compromises regarding what can reasonably be tolerated and what can’t.

    e.g. the turban thing shouldn’t be allowed because it sets a dangerous precedent.
    but, the sikh man should understand why it’s not allowed and respect that reason. If he can’t accept it or compromise, then he should leave. Same goes for anyone wanting to impose Muslim laws on a culture said laws are not compatible with. Same goes for a copper to wear an Opus Dei badge on his uniform.

    Unfortunately, in this situation, the bloke was fucked about and the Govt/Gardai made a hash of the whole thing allowing the media to dig up every 2 bit hack to have their say. Now its a big deal which is total BS and the Govt. will probably capitulate. fuck you Ciarán Cuffe.

  24. Oh right. I see.

    I just need to point out that Annie is a valued friend of this site, who happens to come from a different country.
    “She is also not any kind of a loony, except the kind we like.”

    Firstly Bock. No malice intended.
    It just gets on my wick when outsiders tell me whats good for me and my country.

    Secondly ,Sorry there, but I misspelt the word mat. its not mate.

    Thirdly, I was in Dublin some time ago and saw one of those fully covered Muslim women walking down O Connell st. All in black with just the eyes looking out of a letter box type opening. We need to stop this before its gets out of hand.

    Like I said ……….When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

  25. The Sikh community want Sikh reservists to police the Sikh scum-bags, correct ? This is why we a have cosmopolitan police force to deal with all the different ethnic scumbags. So the Sikhs would look after the Sikh scumbags , OK.

    So, what of there was a Sikh riot and the protestant and catholic Sikh scumbags were kicking the shit out of each other, and the Sikh reservist super. gave the order to draw batons and charge the crowd, the batons wouldn’t work , would they .

    Vote no to Turbans

  26. It’s a fuss about nothing. Irish society will not collapse because they allow a garda wear a turban.
    We can manage that without any help from other cultural traditions.

  27. “It’s a fuss about nothing. Irish society will not collapse because they allow a garda wear a turban.
    We can manage that without any help from other cultural traditions.”

    Bull, Irish society will collapse.
    Name on country in the world where multiculturalism works?

    Multiculturalism is a other word for separation.

  28. Mairéad : Yeah. I agree. It would be good to get rid of all the catholic paraphernalia from State-funded buildings.

    Dick: What can one say? Thanks for the contribution.

    S&C: I’d say you have the makings of an entire post there on the S&C site. Why not?

    Mr Nipple: The difficulty isn’t with foreign cultures. It’s with religious symbols, native or imported.

    Annie: A riot helmet would work.

    Kit: I’ll have a glass too. Thanks.

    Mr Minute: Then we’d have nothing to argue about, for fucksake!

    Mr Sneeze: A pair of tights pulled over one’s head would also address the problem, it seems to me.

    Mr Wegian: I hope he meant “prayed”. It’s better.

    Niall: You’re right. The Guards made a shit of the recruitment process. However, I don’t see it as an immigration issue. If it wasn’t a religious thing there would be no complaints from either side.

    Mr Help-Us: That’s fine. I can see your point of view. I need to emphasize for everybody that the policy of this site is to be as courteous as possible to other contributors.

    Everyone else is fair game!

    Mr Forsythe: It’s true. Irish society won’t collapse, but I don’t think that was suggested here. I was just asking whether it’s appropriate to permit religious symbolism as part of a police uniform, and at present I tend to think it isn’t. But I’m open to persuasion.

    QJS: No sooner said than done. More offence caused in the next post, with any luck.

  29. The Sikhs do not lose out on anything if denied the garda job. The Sikh in question is educated (IT professional), and will probably get a better job. He just wanted to serve Ireland rather than get a cushy IT job. He wanted to show his love for the country and making Ireland a nicer place for Irish by joining the police.
    He thought that Sikhs would be better integrated in Ireland if he could be their lone representative in the force. He knew that even if he got the job in the force, he would face problems, both within and outside. Tackling rowdy people who would make racist comments about him and his turban. Even within the service, he could face similar issues.
    But no. He decided to take the plunge and work for the state and country that he had adopted.
    If only the country and the citizens were willing to adopt him

  30. Baghel: I’m guessing you’re a Sikh, and therefore perhaps you could throw some light on this discussion.

    Could you please clarify if Sikhs are members of a particular religion or a particular race?

    I have always thought being a Sikh was about religion, and if so I don’t see how people could be accused of racism. However, I might be wrong.

    By the way: the job was not a full-time paid police job. It was as a member of the part-time unpaid reserve. The gentleman would have kept his IT job in any case.

  31. Sorry I veered into the immigration thing there bock, stream of thougth etc.
    Basically I’m against the concession because it singles one member out for special treatment, which creates division and disunity. IMHO thats a bad thing. Think of affirmative action.

    to baghel: I’m really glad that this man wanted to join the police, its good for his community and Ireland, I just don’t think he should feel entitled to display religious beliefs in his capacity as a Police Officer.

    Now I’m of to tamper with Sean O Caseys wikipedia entry

  32. (1) The fact that it has been mentioned or presumed that I am a Sikh is in itself amusing. Speaks volumes about debate on immigration / racism.
    (2) Yes, I am a Sikh.
    (3) When I say “racist” comments, I am reminded of Noel Ignatiev who wrote “How the Irish became white”. And I am quoting him here: “Notwithstanding this, if there were any people who were racially oppressed in Ireland it was the Catholics”. (reference is here
    Catholics were racially opressed because of their religion, and not race. Hence racial is not just on account of skin colour, as Irish Catholics know best.
    (3) Sikhism is a religion. And yes, most (perhaps > 99 %) Sikhs belong to one race. The English describe Sikhs as a “martial race”, a term that I do not like because of the racial suggestion (but you can check this here
    And that is why Sikhs as a “martial race” was deployed in heavy numbers during first and second world wars. And it was Sikhs who liberated France during the world war.

    Hope that helps. God bless.

  33. Baghel: I’m sorry you’re so defensive about the fact that I noticed you were a Sikh. That assumption was based on the name you gave in your email address and wasn’t intended as a criticism of you. I simply thought you might be able to give us an authoritative point of view. I think your defensiveness speaks volumes about you. If you were looking for prejudice, you came to the wrong site.

    Catholicism certainly does not define the Irish and I would take great exception to anyone who suggested I was not Irish simply because I am not a Catholic.

    For clarity, are you saying that Sikhism and race are one and the same thing? This is a very important point.

  34. After looking at Prime Time last night my belief in the no change to the Garda uniform is copper fastened.

    The Sikh Police officer in London that was interviewed said he was a Sikh first and police officer second when in uniform.

    Well there you have it, he put his religion first instead of the people he is supposed to serve.
    Need we say more.

  35. Mr Help-Us: We once had a Prime Minister who said something similar.

    Mr Major: Hmm. Interesting points you make there.

  36. Sooo sorry Twenty, But I’m a little slow, you lost me with the first one, however I am old enough to remember the band…………
    Maybe I’m old enough to be going senoyle, saneill, seen……. oh friggit forgettabouttit

  37. Mr Help-Us: We once had a Prime Minister who said something similar.

    Prime Minister????. You in the right country Bock?

  38. I once jokingly commented on the length of a guy’s hair, you know, the kind of thing: “blimey mate, you need a haircut”.
    He was, as I soon discovered, a Rasta.
    My advice, don’t jokingly comment on the hair of a Rasta, they don’t like it.

  39. Zucchini: I know it’s hard, but just take a deep breath.

    God Help Us: Yes, I’m in the right country. Bertie is the prime minister of this country. That’s what a Taoiseach is. Your point is what?

    Howesey:A bit like women, then, these Rastas? Imagine if you told him the locks made his arse look huge.

  40. I think you know.

    Prime Minister – Príomh-Aire. Also head of other goverments.

    We have a Tioiseach in Ireland only, which means (of a tribe) chief, or head of.

  41. God Help Us: You’re quite wrong. He’s a prime minister like any other, with the same functions and the same constitutional standing. We once had a prime minister, Haughey, who thought he was an old-style tribal taoiseach, and he brought us as close to a coup d’etat as we have ever been.

  42. I’ll debate this with you when I have more time, but you’ve gone well off-topic.

    Here’s an extract from the Constitution:

    5. 1° The head of the Government, or Prime Minister, shall be called, and is in this Constitution referred to as, the Taoiseach.

    The Prime Minister is referred to as the Taoiseach. That’s clear enough, isn’t it?

  43. I am a Sikh. I know the importance of turbans.
    First of all, WE ARE NOT MUSLIMS, EXTREMISTS or TERRORISTS. Sikhs work in Nasa, armies across the planet, UN, air forces ….every where! Dr. M Singh is a turbaned minister of India, JJ SIngh ex. chief of the staff – Indian Army etc.

    A Sikh who keeps long hair has to cover them up in a tidy manner, and turban is used for that. THIS IS NOT A MUSLIM TURBAN. It is cultural symbol and believe me looks very professional.

    Some guys are saying things like ” in our country , do like we do” …well mate remember when the English forced their ways on you! They we wrong…so are you now. Any Sikh who comes to Ireland for a better future hopes to contribute economically, socially and culturally to the place!
    Canada is an example of Sikh entrepreneurship wonders! Our religion emphasizes on equality of all..irrespective of race, gender etc.

    Their are bad people in every society, a bad individual who happens to be a Sikh does imply that all Sikhs are bad! Its Common sense but unfortunately we tend to loose it when it we think hatred-fully.

    I just want to lay emphasis on the fact that SIKHS have nothing to do with Islam and we have a 500 year long history of fighting against Islamic extremism!

  44. Jasjeet: Firstly, nobody here said Sikhs are muslims, and nobody said Sikhs are bad, so I don’t know what you mean by either of those comments.

    Secondly, I recognise that Sikhs are good, honest, hardworking people.

    Thirdly, we aren’t going out forcing our ways on anybody. This discussion is about what we do in our own country, and we are fully entitled to make whatever rules we wish for our police force.

    I happen to believe that no religion in this country should get special treatment, and that includes Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Jews.

  45. Bock!

    Firstly, I said these things as an general information for blokes with not enough information on Sikhism. I live in Aberdeen and have been attacked many times by people who confuse me with Muslim extremists. UK, US have both witnessed post 9/11 hate crime where Sikhs have been attacked.

    Yes, you are entitled to make rules for your organization. But mate just recognize the fact that turban is a necessity in professional appearance for a Sikh.

    Furthermore, isn’t he an Irish Citizen? He just wants to join the force and serve. Turban is not a ‘religion on display’. Please search for Sikhs in Indian forces. Fighter Pilots in Indian Air Force keep their turban in formal dress code, they use alternatives when in ‘hot’ seat! So do engineers, doctors etc! We are pragmatic about things!

    Turban can be tied in a manner that makes it compact and tidy, just like a Hat! Smart and simple!

    And a very important fact is that SIKHS are separate race, so this unintentionally amounts to racism. Sorry for that.

    Anyway, My Girlfriend is Irish white girl from Bray so thats what makes me interested!

  46. Jasjeet: I respect your position on this, and as I said in the post, I’m open to changing my mind about it, but it doesn’t matter much what I believe anyway.

    I accept fully that the man who wants to join the police has the best of motives and would be an excellent example of Sikh principles, which I find admirable.

    You don’t do your argument any favours by playing the racism card, however. It is not a race issue here. It’s about religion. I would also object to a policeman wearing a yarmulka, or a crucifix. By the way, forgive my ignorance but I didn’t know Sikhs were a distinct race. Wasn’t Sikhism founded by Guru Nanak in the 15th century, and aren’t there thousands of non-Indian Sikhs in America?

  47. Hey Bock

    I never want to play that card! Its just a thought and many people would say so. And, it does matter what you believe! Everyone who cares matters!

    yes Sikhism was founded by Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. But, over the centuries, Sikhism was subjected to suppression by Islamic rulers of India, and by many Hindu groups as well. Ironic to me! Everybody who knows Sikhism knows about 1984!

    Well, Sikhs mostly came from northern plains of India and the followers were different from Dravidians (A separate race anthropologically speaking!). This has been opposed by fundamentalist Hindus and Muslims! Both want to say Sikhism is their sub-religion. Many people across the world from different races have adopted Sikhism, just like non white Christians in India! Globalisation dear! Anyway, I personally find this race stuff ironic since Sikhism shuns all race based thoughts! and, we have seen enough mind wash by political world using race, religion etc. Lets stand strongly against people who use us.

    Yes, My thoughts will be biased since I am a Sikh…and yours will oscillate as well! Lets end this by saying that there must a common solution, like formal occasion may permit a turban, while on an operation alternatives could be used. Everyone is happy!

    Just try to think of a Turban as a non-religious thing. Believe me many Hindus, Muslims, even some Persians wear turban on special occasions like marriage and stuff! We just like to keep it on!


  48. Jasjeet, your post is an educational read and it’s nice to have someone defend the Turban without just being insulting to Ireland and An Garda Siochana. You make an interesting comment:

    “Just try to think of a Turban as a non-religious thing.”


    Garda Reserve: Sarge, can I wear this?

    Garda Sargent: Is it part of the uniform?

    Garda Reserve: No sir.

    Garda Sargent: No.

    End of argument.

    I don’t see what the problem is. If the wearing of any item of clothing is so important that it precludes the wearing of the correct and full uniform then don’t go for the job.

    As for wearing it only for formal occasions and such, again on a non-religious note. If a Scottish person wanted to wear the kilt as part of the Garda uniform for special occasions I still say no.

    If it is not part of the uniform you do not wear it when you are required to wear the uniform. It’s a very simple and straightforward rule.

  49. Hi there,

    In response to the Sikh and the wearing of his turban in the garda Reserve.

    If Religion is allowed to enter into the matter, why not have every religion in the world join the Garda Reserve and we can have a right old time with the confusion that would follow.

    I think that we should learn that as a nation we are nearly done and if we are not already a people of the past, we soon will be.

    It has become quite obvious to me that as Irish people we can soon kiss that tag Irish goodbye.

    At the moment here in Ireland we do not have any leadership worth a shit and I am of the opinion that our political leaders ( jokes ) are asleep with their heads up their rear ends and in a few years from now it will become more clear to everybody of the bad errors made in allowing too many non nationals in to this Country without some checks and balances being made.

    Years ago I used to like seeing non Irish people in Ireland, especially those that tried to adopt to Ireland, like the Boat People who came here some thirty years ago and adapted to our way of life. That is not happening with the people comming now and it is we who will eventually have to change to their demands, the will come.

    If you allow the Sikh’s in to the Garda and other areas you will have other religions wanting to get in as well and this will be a bad move if it affects the way the job is done.

    If we change to suit one we will have to change to suit all and religion should not become part of any bargaining tool.

    Religion is for personal use and the Holy places and in the home and in in a good persons heart and mind.

    Question : What will Ireland become in a few years when we are outnumbered by Non Irish people even if they have been here a few years and have children, they will always be loyal to their parents place of birth.

    The Irish in America are known as IRISH AMERICANS and will always be known as that.

  50. What are you talking about?

    This debate concerns the wearing of turbans, not what religions are entitled to join the police.

    Be clear about this: people of every religion and of none can join our police force and work in every other area of life as well, and that’s as it should be.

    Please don’t try to turn this discussion into a race issue, or a rant about keeping foreigners out of the country, because I won’t let you do that.

  51. Hi Brock,

    I am glad that you defend all Religions and I am not trying to make it a race issue, thats your response to my words.

    It is a way of life for the Sikhs and other people, so thats why I think that if people are not able to wear the standard uniform of the Garda, then thats a problem.

    It may well take some years for you to get to grips with what is happening in Ireland these days, by then it will be too late for the population that is of Irish Decent to have any say in anything.

    It is as important for me to be Irish and for all people in Ireland to become Irish or at least try to adopt an Irish way of life in public and be what ever they want in private.

    The reason we are having this debate, is because the person of Indian decent wants to hold on to his Heritage just as much as I want to remain Irish.

    If I went to any other country and wanted to join or do whatever, I would adopt the Laws,Ways,Culture of that country, as I have now left my own country and I am now starting on a new way of life.

    In private I can be whatever as long as I did not offend the people of that country by trying to dictate my Religion or ways upon them.

    I am not of a racist nature, I just want people to get on with the people of the country that they choose to come to live in as I would do if I leave Ireland.

    I would love to see non Irish people trying to adopt some if not all of our Laws and ways of life as it would really then create a new Ireland that we could be part of in many more ways.

  52. I can agree with much of what you say, but I really don’t like to be patronised. Therefore, I’d ask you to go gently on advice about how long it will take me to “get to grips” with anything. Deal?

  53. Bock,

    I know many sikhs where I live it is quite diverse. Firstly let me say that we live in a melting pot of society, the world is getting much smaller….scotland and ireland are no exception to this!

    Most sikhs living in the west are well educated and have produced positive contributions to areas in which they live…there native land (punjab)within india is the wealthiest, 80% of them in britain are degree educated and employment for them is highier for them then any ethnic race in the UK or Canada.

    Sikhs will often identify themsleves as sikhs or indians in most cases and for that reason you can certainly regard them as a race.
    When a reference is made to there turbans it can be often a sign of disrespect to there soveriegn identity. A uniform is namley there so we as people can identify someone, this is very much the case for sikhs and there turbans as it is equally for nuns and there robes.

    The west is secular but it stills keeps a strong affinity to tradition because there is value in it, after all we accomdate the christian faith when have our national holidays during the celebration of christmas and easter. Religion has formed our identities, religion formed instituition and is apart of our cultural history and identity.

    Being a secular nation does not mean we should be ignorant to people of faith. It seems if you follow a religion you are regarded as different , even unnormal. If this guy wanted to wear his turban while wearing his uniform and people could identify him as part of the guarda and equally identify him as a sikh i really cant see this as a crisis.

    Uniforms have been subject to change, just visit your old school to see what they now wear as uniforms. Uniforms throughout history have changed to accomodate the changing environment in which we live, and the world is changing.

    Sikhs wear turbans because they need to cover thier hair like a nun covers her body head to toe as their consecration to God….What does a nun do when they swim?

    A German man once suggested that a Jewish man can not be loyal to Germany, because they are loyal to their beliefs first, he furthered his point because they wore skull caps in the army and police force.Judiasm is a religion not a race – this German man Hitler did not care and murdered 6 million of them?

    Depate enriches us all….but ignorance does not.

  54. Not all Sikhs cover their hair and not all nuns cover their bodies, but if you want to use nuns as an example, well and good. I think it would be unacceptable for a nun to wear a veil as part of a police uniform. I also think it would be wrong for anyone to wear a crucifix as part of a police uniform.

  55. Bock,

    A nun would be regarded as a practising christian a sikh wearing a turban would be deemed as a practising sikh. Many state that they belong to a faith only a few practice it.

    I wear a cross around my neck, and have served my country….My competence and ability was never hindered or questioned because I wore a crucifix, and furthermore I am no more of a practising christain than most.

    Religion is imbedded in european history & culture..after all are not members of the guarda sworn in and take an oath?If a member of the guarda was killed, is it not right to give he/she a buriel or is that to christian?

    A uniform is a uniform…..its who’s in that uniform that really matters, would you not agree bock?

  56. You can wear what you want when you’re out of uniform. That’s your own business.

    Members of the garda are buried by their families, not by the police, and again it’s their families’ business how they bury them. It’s none of my business how people are buried and I haven’t expressed any views on the subject.

    Religious symbols have no place in a uniform that represents all of us, Christian, Muslim, Sikh, Jew and those with no religion whatever.

  57. Bock,
    I found the site while reading about that pervert down in west cork, I’d just like to agree with you strongly as i feel you summed it up perfectly in post. no.69.
    Plain and simple its a uniform, regardless of an officers beliefs, when they get up in the morning to go to work they are Gardai. Not a religious people doing their job. Maybe that’s not all too clear.
    Uni= 1 singular=one for all.
    No exceptions. Religion or race aside, on the job your a Garda first and if anyone wants to be one they wear the full bloody uniform. Simple as that. Not what just suits them!
    If some one of a certain belief has issues with this then its simple, that job is not for you no matter how good you may be at it if you will not dress and act like every other member of the force.
    Having this discussion is madness in it self.
    Why should the gardai or us irish be the ones labelled intolerent, when clearly it is the other way around?
    I’m open to people of different cultures living in Ireland and making it their home but strongly believe we need to hold dear what little culture we have left and not bend over for foreigners who come here and believe/demand we must change our culture, laws and lifestyle to suit them. Its arrogant and disrespectful to a country which has it’s own culture and which is open to all people, I think, as long as they don’t expect us to change for them. When in Rome is a good analogue as us practising some of our customs and culture in their country would certainly NOT be tolerated.

    A turban is simply not a part of the Garda uniform so it should not be worn, liberal people with their blind sense of duty to bend to all others will lead us down the road of England and I certainly do not wish to see that for my beloved county. Not saying I ever liked the british after what some have done to my family members over the last 200 years but its a shame to see it get so diluted with all other races and cultures.
    What’s left for me to hate now?

  58. Diluted with other races and cultures?

    I would regard that as enrichment, not dilution, and our inward-looking mean-spirited parochial Irish society needs as much enrichment as it can get.

    Just to be absolutely clear: this post is specifically about a religious emblem. It has nothing to do with races or cultures, and therefore I suspect you and I may have little enough in common.

  59. why is every one fighting. If your a Sikh come to Toronto canada down here Sikhs most likely own the city. I also beieve all the non Sikhs on this site should come here to because then you’ll see how the Sikhs are feeling thee. Cause if your not Sikh and you live in Brampton canada your gonna have a hard life!

  60. Turban is more about identity,,,

    Sikh history has seen blood shed ,innocents killed ,,children massacred in front of there mothers,,fathers made to eat there children’s heart,,,
    people cut piece by piece ,burn ,
    prices on their heads,,(i am talking about era of 1600 to till date,,because they fought back ,,they made their identity against the tyranny and supression ,,,for saving innocent ,,,(hindus,budhists,and others)
    islamic rulers invaded places,including indian subcontinent …they would come and loot indian wealth,,,take away women ,rape them..sell them for slavery…convert them with force .

    sikhs united under a leader ,,,saints turned into soldiers,,,took up swords was born…sikh army ,the khalsa(pure form)

    pure form as nature created them,,,pure as evolution made them..neat and clean,,but fierce ,hard working and kind at heart ,,with rules to live life purely ,,an identity from which they can not turn their back on righteous path ..and duty..a turban and uncut denotes the sacrifices and blood of ancestors ,the battles won ..
    and i just dont get what harm a turban can do to any one….get real

  61. As a Canadian, I would like to way in on this discussion. In some of the earlier posts, someone stated that multiculturalism works in Canada. I would like to refute that argument. As far as I am concerned, multiculturalism has failed in Canada because of the increasing separation of many different groups in our country. People in Canada don’t really see themselves as “Canadian” but as Indian, Irish, French, British…etc.

    Getting back to the topic at hand, I don’t believe that any religious symbols or emblems should be worn when serving the public, either in the military, the police, the healthcare system, or any other publicly funded institution.

    Sikhs that want to wear their turbans should be free to wear these coverings if they work in the private sector, on the street or anywhere else except while being paid by the government to work. If Sikhs are allowed to wear their turbans on police duty, what will be next? Christians wearing giant crosses? Muslim policewomen in full face coverings?

    A police or military uniform isn’t just about being identified it symbolizes uniformity amongst the wearers of the uniform, turbans don’t fit. I would not move to the Punjab region of India and demand that I be allowed not to wear a turban if it was part of a uniform. Common sense must prevail. When someone immigrates to a new country it is their obligation to educate themselves about the customs of their chosen country and abide by them.

  62. Dear John,
    if you moved to the Punjab, and were not Sikh, you would not be required to wear a turban. Muslim, Christian, and Hindu members of the Indian police or security forces in the Punjab are not required to wear turbans.
    Yours sincerely,

  63. I would like to apologize for my error, I was unaware of that fact. Thank you Lapsedmethodist.

    I believe that allowing members of a certain religion wear their symbols, whatever those symbols may be is against secularism.

    I believe that the only way that the government can treat every religion equally is to remove all religious symbols from the public service, turbans included. I also support the removal of crosses, religious names and other symbols from all public services.

  64. I don’t see the problem with any religious symbolism as long as the person wearing them is still recognisable as a policemen or woman. Too much agonising has gone into this subject, while I see it as an almost non-issue.

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