sikhs protest france turban ban

Sikhs on the French Election

Sikh PA have been looking to speak to Sikhs from France about their thoughts on the nation’s election, which will come to a conclusion at the end of this week.

marine le pen

Presidential candidate Marine Le Pen.

Sikhs have been particularly concerned because of the very real chance that Marine Le Pen – former president of far-right party the National Front – could be elected as the country’s president. Marine Le Pen has been open about furthering the ban on religious symbols from France’s schools to all public spaces, which she confirmed will impact Sikhs wearing the dastaar (turbans).

Sikh PA spoke with Ranjit Singh, a 30 year old legal counsellor from Paris, about his thoughts on the election and the potential for Le Pen to be President.

Ranjit Singh, a French Sikh.

Ranjit Singh, a French Sikh.

“A french presidency in the hands of Marine Le Pen is not only a danger for the French Sikh, but is especially perilous for the French Republic, which embodies the values of fraternity, equality and freedom.
“The National Front has an exclusive and extremely radical view of laicité (secularity). They have misappropriated, and diverted the essence of the principle of laicité. Its prohibition of any religious symbol in public spaces goes against the principle of laicité provided by the 1905 Act of the separation of church and state. Laicité is a principle of national harmony, guaranteeing religious diversity. Thus, whatever the belief or not of an individual, they are free to exercise it, or not.
“The presence of Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential election is a political disaster. It signals the failure of the political class to understand and redo democracy in our society. All hope of a common project is rejected by the racist and xenophobic ideas of the National Front party. Discrimination against visible minorities are increasingly recurrent.”
Another Parisian Sikh, Nina Kaur Chandok also shared her thoughts with us.

“The arrival of Marine Le Pen in the second round of the presidential elections is not a surprise, this was unfortunately predictable, just like the rise of extremism in many countries.

“The real shock is to realize that thousands of people who voted for her have a similar vision of France and adhere to her ideas. As a result, many people today feel uninhibited and allow themselves to make offensive remarks. Thus, discrimination and racism multiply.

“Marine Le Pen has proved that she has a biased view of reality and a lack of knowledge of the people who make up the French population. She seemed surprised by the presence of French Sikhs.

“The arrival of an extreme party is a fear not only for the French Sikhs, but also for all minorities and democracy in a more general way.”

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