Sikhs Caught Up In France’s Battle To Stay Secular

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A spokeswoman said none were French but would not discuss their nationality. Britains Foreign Office said three Britons were among thosearrested. Venezuelas interior minister, Miguel Rodriguez , said that two National Guard sergeants and one lieutenant were arrested Sunday and that airline workers were suspected ofinvolvement. We presume there is complicity at the airline, he said on stateTV. Rodriguez said the Sept. 11 seizure at Charles de Gaulle Airport came after several weeks of investigation by French, Spanish, British and Dutch police. The drugs were placed on Flight 368, which departed Caracas on Sept. 10, hesaid. Air France said in a statement that it is working with police and conducting an internal investigation, and increasing baggage checks at some sensitivelocations. There was no immediate explanation for why authorities waited nearly two weeks to announce theseizure. Rodriguez said the three National Guard officials arrested were assigned to its counterdrugs command, based at Venezuelas Simon Bolivar International Airport . They are the first arrests from an investigation that began the moment information was received from France, hesaid. Rodriguez said authorities were interviewing people, reviewing airport security camera video and reviewing baggage tickets for thesuitcases. Michael Shifter , president of the Inter-American Dialogue think tank in Washington, said the case supports U.S.

France Says Urgent Action Needed to Aid CAR

We are facing a serious security situation and we don’t want to let this serious situation degenerate and through contagion make the situation extremely complicated in the entire region, Fabius said. Fabius is hosting a summit on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25 to discuss the crisis, which he said needed to send a clear message. Former colonial power France – which intervened earlier this year to oust Islamist rebels from another one of its former colonies, Mali – has been reluctant to get directly involved in the crisis. It has urged African nations and the African Union to do their utmost to resolve the crisis among themselves. But while the African Union plans to deploy a 3,600-strong peacekeeping mission – known as MISCA – in the country, incorporating a regional force of 1,100 soldiers already on the ground, it is unlikely to be operational before 2014. The African Union has asked financial, logistical and technical support from the United Nations and senior U.N. officials recommended last month that the U.N. Security Council approve this request. The African Union and United Nations planned to send experts to the Central African Republic to assess exactly what was needed and U.N. diplomats said that on the basis of those reports the Security Council would respond with a resolution. U.N. envoy to Central African Republic, retired Lieutenant General Babacar Gaye, and U.N. Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic both last month signaled to the Security Council that the AU force would not be enough to combat the crisis in the country, which borders six other states.

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But the kesh (long hair) and the pagri (turban) are non-negotiable. They are not symbols but a sacred, inherent and intrinsic part of our religion.” Ten students have been expelled since the law on secularity in schools came into force in 2004, according to official records. But the true number of children affected is much higher since many Sikhs have opted for private schools or home learning rather than give up the turban, said Ranjit Singh, a community spokesman who liaises with the government. “Also many Sikh families are ashamed of the fact that their children have been expelled and do not tell us so there are no complete records,” Kashmir Singh added. Ranjit Singh was one of the first Sikh boys to be expelled from his lycee, or high school, after the 2004 law. That left deep scars but he has moved on since and is currently pursuing a doctorate at the prestigious Sorbonne university in Paris. “I opted for the liberal professions because I then decided I would work for myself as I was sceptical about getting a job that would allow me to keep my turban,” he said. Sikhism was founded five centuries ago in the Indian subcontinent and its cornerstones are the principles of equality and fraternity. It was a reaction to the Hindu caste system and the prevailing Islamic perception and treatment of non-believers as “infidels”. The religion does not seek to proselytise. And its only link with terrorism has been confined to India and Indian targets in the wake of a now defunct separatist movement to carve a Sikh homeland called Khalistan out of the Indian state of Punjab. The extremist attacks peaked after then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi controversially ordered the June 1984 storming of Sikhdom’s holiest shrine to flush out separatists holed up inside.