The religious rights of a Sikh under the first amendment of the United States constitution were violated after a judge told him to remove his turban. The judge referred to the turban as a “hat” and asked the Sikh to either leave the court or remove his religious headgear.

The incident occurred inside a court room in Albany, NY and the Sikh coalition is working with Harjit to address the matter.

People expressed outrage with the following comments on social network:

Gurinder Singh Khaira Judge dont deserve to be a part of justice. He shud be removed

Beena Bamrah This shows how IGNORANT this judge is ,would he have asked Jewish man to remove e his kappah or a nun remove her head scarf????

“I humbly request people commenting in favor of the Judge to research what Sikh religion is. All Sikh men are required to wear Turban(article of faith) as part of their identity not a fashion statement and definitely not a hat. Turban reminds Sikh to uphold the core beliefs of the Sikh faith (Believe in one God, Equality for all, earn an honest living and share with needy). Being a member of Judiciary, we would expect Judge to be more sensitive to someone’s beliefs. Sikhs are an integral part of this community and have every right to practice their religion freely. USA is a melting pot of all different cultures and religions we should never forget that.” Amrit Singh

“The United States First Amendment prohibits governments from restricting an individual’s religious practice. If a Jew was present in court, he would not have been told to take off his yarmulke as it is a sacred part of the Jewish religion and is seen as a way of respecting God. What is the difference between a yarmulke and a turban, other than the religions they represent? Anyone commenting, “our country, our rules” should take time and read the Constitution. America was built on land taken from the Native Americans so it is not “our country, our rules.” This man experienced a violation of a freedom that all Americans have, which is a freedom of religion and the freedom to wear his turban, which is a sacred sign of his Sikh religion. Not only was it disrespectful for the judge to request him to take off his turban, but it was also against the Constitution. It may be “the judge’s courtroom” but that courtroom exists under the United States Constitution.” Andrew Inderjit

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