Smith Seeks Assurances for Sikh Lobby

06 May 2008
Alyn Smith MEP for Scotland has written to the President of the European Parliament to support the plight of Sikh lobbyists unable to venture within the Parliament premises wearing their ceremonial Kirpan.

Mr Smith was contacted by the UK Sikh Federation who outlined their dilemma. On receiving notice Mr Smith contacted the office of the President of the European Parliament to highlight his concerns and request that an exception be made.

The Sikh delegation are set to meet MEPs at a location in Brussels tomorrow (7th May).

Mr Smith said:

"I cannot fathom why officials at the European Parliament, whilst accepting the ceremonial and religious significance of the Kirpan, fail to allow Sikh's to enter the premises.

"I regularly wear my Sgian Dubh in Parliament at official functions, and have never experienced the problems suffered by our Sikh guests. "

It was brought to my attention that although alternative arrangements were put in place to hold a Lobby out with the parliament for our Sikh guests. The delegation are still unaware where that location is, and when they will be able to meet MEPs.

"As far as I am concerned this is a shambles. It is paramount that every religious group be given the right to effectively lobby their elected representatives. After all this is the year of intercultural dialogue, not too mention the subject of this Sikhs' Freedom Lobby's meeting is "discrimination against Sikhs". I think it would be prudent that appropriate arrangements be made.

"I will be further raising this matter with the President of the Parliament to ensure that there is not a repeat of this debacle next year."

Alyn's Letter to the President of the European Parliament