According to Prem Vinning, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, eight local gurdwara members, including himself, went on a hunger strike from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., alongside hundreds who gathered for a rally at the art gallery “to show support and solidarity for his hunger strike.”Read more
For a practising Sikh, “the turban is central,” said panellist Mukhbir Singh, vice-president for Quebec and Atlantic Canada of the World Sikh Organization of Canada. Asking him to remove his turban is “tantamount to asking a Sikh to do something completely against his belief.”Read more
Members of the province's Sikh and Jewish communities agree the debate is becoming increasingly hateful.
Balpreet Singh of the World Sikh Organization said his members told him "there is an increase in the number of people who feel it's OK to heckle or mock people wearing headdresses."Read more
Balpreet Singh of the Ottawa-based World Sikh Organization of Canada said Sikh men are being asked to choose between their religion or their jobs. "What the PQ is focussed on doing is targeting minorities," he said. "The Sikh community in Quebec is very nervous about this." Singh said the bill is unconstitutional but he admitted Quebec could invoke the notwithstanding clause to overturn any court challenge.Read more
Balpreet Singh, a spokesperson for the World Sikh Organization of Canada, said his community has not been consulted either. “With so many other issues facing Quebecers, we’re not sure why picking on minorities is at the top of the PQ’s list,” he said. “With serious problems with respect to employment, with respect to health care and services, we would have thought that the reasonable thing to do would have been to be more welcoming and open. But it seems that the PQ wants to drive people away, which is just confusing,” Singh said.Read more
Toronto Star: PQ legislation would ban religious symbols from government offices, schools, hospitals, paper says
Mukhbir Singh, the World Sikh Organization of Canada’s vice-president for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, said any such legislation is unnecessary, a likely violation of peoples’ individual rights of religious worship, and a distraction from more pressing public concerns like the economy. “There’s no problem that’s being solved by this,” he said in an interview. Quebec’s Sikh’s were singled out earlier this year after the provincial soccer federation banned turban-wearing boys from playing the game over unexplained safety concerns. The move provoked national outrage and international snickering, but was supported by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois. The Quebec Soccer Federation cancelled the turban ban only after an extraordinary intervention from FIFA, the sport’s international governing body, to say that turbans should be allowed on the field. The battle provoked expressions of support for Quebec’s Sikhs, but also profound concerns within their community, he said. “The worry is about where this is going to stop.”Read more
Meantime, Prem Singh Vinning, president of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, condemned Sunday's vandalism. "We strongly condemn this act," he said. "Any attack on any religious place of gathering, it's not acceptable to society." As for the vandals, Vinning said, "The full force of the law should come to effect on these individuals. We should stand in solidarity with our Hindu community."Read more
“If they’re trying to cause friction between the two communities – I don’t think they’re going to succeed,” said World Sikh Organization of Canada president, Prem Vinning. “Acts like that only will bring us closer together where we stand up for one another as Canadians.”Read more
According to the executive director of the World Sikh Organization of Canada, Sukhvinder Kaur Vinning - who is an organ donor herself - the issue is a lack of knowledge. "(Organ donation) really fits well with our values as people and if our body can help someone, great," Vinning said. "It sincerely has to do with a lack of awareness of the idea, the lack of conversation, because this is not a conversation you have in India ...(and) there's always new immigrants coming (to Canada)."Read more
It's an unfortunate episode that should never have happened, says a Sikh spokesman, but some good resulted from the political and cultural furor over the Quebec soccer federation's now-reversed ban on Sikh head coverings.
"It should never have gotten so complicated to begin with," said Balpreet Singh of the World Sikh Organization of Canada.Read more