Respect For The Dastaar At Airports Across Europe Moves A Step Closer

—Yesterday the Sikh Federation (UK) who has been leading lobbying efforts regarding respect for the Sikh turban (dastaar) at airports in the UK since the issue first came up in June 2010 and working closely with the Department for Transport received the letter reproduced below from the Department.

Bhai Amrik Singh, the Chair of the Sikh Federation (UK) said:

‘The letter is particularly helpful as it provides hope for a real and lasting solution to respect for the Sikh turban (dastaar) across Europe.

The UK Government should be congratulated on the stance it has taken to date and now it is time for Sikhs across Europe to make sure their own governments support the proposals when Members States of the EU vote on changing the regulation in the next 12 months. We will use the Federation’s sister bodies across Europe to make sure this happens.

It also sends a message to all those who doubted the system used at UK airports could be introduced across Europe and were prepared to compromise on allowing the dastaar to be touched or removed.

Sikhs should never compromise their identity stipulated by our Gurus.’

Searching of Religious Cultural Headgear

I am writing to you to provide an update of the current headgear trial, which is due to come to an end this month. As you may recall, my colleague Raj Chana had previously explained that tests had been completed in December 2011 and these results have been presented to the European Commission.

The presentation was received with interest and generated probing questions, which we were able to provide satisfactory answers to. During this session we were asked to complete further tests during 2012, which we completed in May. We have now presented this further information to the European Commission. After due consideration of our reports and presentations, I am very pleased to inform you that the European Commission has written to notify us of its intention, subject to agreement by Member States, to introduce into EU Regulation the use of Explosive Trace Detection (ETD) and Hand Held Metal Detection (HHMD) as an option for primary screening, at least in cases such as the screening of the religious headgear of passengers and staff.

To allow time to prepare the necessary changes to regulation the Commission has extended the trial with immediate effect for a further 12 months, or until such time as the new regulation enters into force (whichever is sooner). This avoids the need to stop the trial pending changes to regulation. I hope you will agree that that this is a positive step.



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