Sikhs Cautiously Welcome New French President

French President François Hollande

PARIS, France—The presidential win by François Hollande has given the French a reason to rejoice, but members of the Sikh community living in the country aren’t ready to celebrate yet. Sikhs have been a part of France for several decades but have failed to receive the right to practice their religion freely. Despite strong efforts by the community, Sikhs have been barred from wearing a turban in public places in France.

Although it is yet to be seen what changes will come with the election of François Hollande, the past tells us that just like Nicolas Sarkozy, Hollande may not be open to visible religious articles.

Just weeks before the election, François Hollande commented on the “burqa ban” stating that although he won’t seek to overturn the law, he will work to get it applied in the best possible way. He did not elaborate on the details of the ban. In 2010, Hollande, along with most other Socialists had refrained from voting to ban the burqas and niqabs (religious attire worn by Muslim women) in the National Assembly.

Just like the Sikhs, Muslims and members of other religious communities that wear publicly visible articles of faith had received a setback due to Sarkozy’s law barring them in public. Sikhs consider it blasphemy to be without their turban in public places. Sikhs have long questioned the ban on turbans in public places on the basis of laws during World War I and II that allowed Sikhs to fulfill their army duty while wearing turbans. Many Sikhs fought in both World Wars alongside French soldiers.


  1. WAHEGURU Naam japio Gursikho, eh sab toh atul sukh, jantar, mantar, atey tantar hai…phir apey Waheguru meher karuga!


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