France's highest administrative court has ruled that for reasons of public security Sikhs must remove their turbans when photographed for driver's licenses. France has also banned the wearing of conspicuous religious apparel in schools.
Shingara Mann Singh, a 52-year-old French national, was twice refused a replacement driver's license unless he removes his turban for the photo. On his original license, which he said was stolen from him, he was pictured with the turban.
"I will give up my head but not my turban, which covers my unshorn hair," Singh said.
The complaint was filed with the Strasbourg, France-based European Court of Human Rights on his behalf by the United Sikhs organization.
Sikhs are required by their religion to have their hair covered at all times by a turban.
"Sikhs wear their turbans throughout the day, when driving and when at work. Asking them to remove their turbans for a photo ID is absurd and shows an absolute lack of respect and sensitivity," Neena Gill, a British member of the European Parliament, told journalists in Brussels.
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