London, June 28, 2005
NRI, British Sikhs said on Tuesday they were asking
the International Olympic Committee to vote against
France's bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games because
of a French law they say violates religious freedom.
The Sikh Federation and National Council of Gurdwaras
said in a statement it had begun writing to each of
the 120 plus members of the IOC which meets in Singapore
in early July to decide on the host city.
The race is between Paris, London, New York, Madrid
Bhai Amrik Singh, chairman of the Sikh Federation,
appeals in the letter for the Paris bid "to be
rejected as long as the laws and practices in France
discriminate against those that wish to freely practice
France's "secularity" law, which took effect
at the start of the academic year in September, forbids
the wearing of "conspicuous" religious insignia
in state schools, like Muslim headscarves and Sikh
"We believe it is inconceivable for such a prestigious
international event to be hosted in a country where
the laws are infringing the basic human right of religious
freedom," the Sikh statement said.
Bhai Narinderjit Singh, the general secretary of
the Sikh Federation, said in the statement: "As
the ban is on the Christian cross, Jewish skullcap,
Muslim hijab and Sikh turban we believe a number of
nations will heed our concerns and reject the Paris
A federation spokesman added in the statement that
the Sikh federation was also discussing plans for
a possible boycott of French goods, such as an international
embargo on the purchase of defense equipment.