Gareth Johnson: EU directive is causing distress to Sikhs

Date: Mon 26th July 2010

On 22nd  July in  the House of Commons, Gareth Johnson, MP for Dartford,  asked the Secretary of State for Transport,  during a transport debate,  if the government could find a common sense approach at UK airports for Sikhs who wear turbans as an EU directive was causing distress to British Sikhs.

The MP pointed out that turbans can be searched and even  unravelled  by  UK airport security officers and whilst we need an approach that protects the security of travellers, this approach causes distress to the followers of the Sikh religion.

Commenting, Gareth said:  “The Secretary of State recognised that  we have to find a balance. We need to protect the security of passengers whilst recognising the importance of the turban to the followers of the Sikh religion.

“An EU directive has imposed a directive upon us that enables turbans to be unravelled. I hope that this can be avoided.  We should recognise that there are other measures that could be employed that could protect security without distressing people”.

To protect the religious freedom of the Sikh community, the Government has written to airports advising them to continue using the previous methods of screening religious headwear. The Government has also made it clear that it will work with the airport industry and religious communities to find an acceptable long-term solution to this issue.