Sunday, November 18, 2007


Should religious dress and symbols be banned at work? Trying to make workplaces 'religion free' is no solution to human fears about 'difference, says Simon Barrow, reflecting on recent cases of controversy involving religious dress and symbols in schools and companies. (Ekklesia, 19 Nov 2007)

The latest case involves Sarika Watkins-Singh, aged 14, a Sikh pupil at Aberdare Girls’ School, who has refused to remove her kara, one of the five Ks (khalsa) which reminds its wearers to do good. She and her family have been backed in their claim of unreasonable treatment and unlawful exclusion by the non-religious civil rights group Liberty and the Valleys Race Equality Council. Peace campaigner Bruce Kent has also spoken out.

Anna Fairclough, Liberty’s Legal Officer representing the Singhs, said: “The Governing Body of the school have ignored established race and equality protections and shamefully turned a young woman into a pariah by isolating her. Legal precedents established 25 years ago make clear that she should be allowed to wear the kara without being intimidated by the school.”

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