Norway’s Sikh Gurduara Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji community warns of possible legal action against the Ministry of Justice following a current ban on turbans in the police.
Community spokesperson Jagroshan Singh, who himself aspired for a police career, told Dagsavisen, “several of our members have said they would like to undergo police education and training, but feel offended at being ostracised because turbans are not permitted if wishing to become an officer.”
Norway has about 5,000 Sikhs. Approximately 2,500 are members of Gurduara Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. According Mr Singh, the religious attire is neither discriminatory nor oppressive against women, as it is worn by both sexes.
“Wearing a turban is an important part of our identity. Both police uniform regulations and the ministry’s interpretation of these leads to our exclusion from participation in society on an equal footing with everyone else,” he declared.
The Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombudsman and its superior, the Equality Tribunal, have already concluded the veto breaches applicable legislation.
Last month, a government committee proposed allowing members of the police and judges to wear the Hijab following former Minister of Justice Knut Storberget’s 2009 ban for police officers.
Legal firm Hjort has now sent a letter to the Ministry of Justice on behalf of their client. They allege the practise contravenes the Discrimination Act legislation prohibiting prejudice on the grounds of religion.
Lawyer Lars Christiansen said, “I perceive the police as being open to others. An officer came forward last week regarding his homosexuality. Diversity and an inclusive culture in the force are commendable. Sikhs believe the time has come to use the headdress as part of police uniform on the grounds of cultural identity.”
A Ministry of Justice press spokesperson confirms, today, they have received the letter from Hjort, but tells The Foreigner the matter is still under discussion.