Bradford, UK—Just over a month ago, many Sikhs (and non-Sikhs) accused Mr. Philip Davies MP for being a “anti-Sikh” due to this the article published in the Telegraph & Argus (a local Bradford paper) “Shipley MP criticises Government over Sikh helmet exemption” and his comments in the House of Commons during the Deregulation Bill with regards to Dastar (turban) exemption on motorcycles. Personally I got copied in to many tweets saying
Some people even went further and wrote
As promised to many people on twitter, I arranged a meeting to sit down with Mr. Davies and hear his views. We all know that messages can be distorted and lost in translation, and with today’s media, we can’t always rely on them to give the “truthful” representation of the individual or their point of view. Most MPs are willing to explain their point further via e-mail, phone or face-to-face meeting. Mr. Davies was kind enough to meet with me a week ago (unfortunately couldn’t do this earlier due to my exams commitments) and we had an open and frank conversation about this topic, and among other things.
To clarify – Mr. Davies states that there should not be “different laws for different people.” Meaning if two people were pulled over, and one was wearing a turban and no helmet while the other just had no helmet, then for fairness and equality under the law they should either both be penalized, or neither of them should be. It does not make sense that for one person not wearing a helmet is a criminal offense and for the other it is not.
Most people jumped on the bandwagon and came to the conclusion that Mr. Davies did not want an exemption for Sikhs on motorcycles as he said it is “anti-Sikh” but in actual fact Mr. Davies only a week before this bill read out the Sikh Council UK statement on Halal Meat labeling in the House of Commons and tried to pass through the chamber that all meat (in particular Halal) should be more rigorously label. On many occasions Mr. Davies has spoken up for his constituents and minority communities across the UK regardless of what the “party line” or “politically correct” views are.
In this case, Mr. Davies was asking for a further deregulation and that no one would be penalized for not wearing a helmet. Of course for safety reasons helmets should be advised but it should not be a criminal act if not followed which then would mean that the law would be the same for all individuals.
Something to bear in mind for the future, regardless of what our opinion is and what we think the headline means, it is always best to read the article for ourselves. As it is typical with today’s media – the headline and article did not match up. The article spoke about how Mr. Davies was advocating for further deregulation and not stop to the change in law.