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The Sikh Turban defended in one Christian school in Australia : Banned in another

“When I reached my son’s school, I saw the principal and a teacher watching a YouTube video whilst trying to re-tie my s...

The Mother of God Christian school in the Ardeer suburb of Melbourne was recently honored by the United Sikhs Organisation and the Sri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara Craigieburn for showing respect for Sikh articles of faith. They received recognition for their display of Christian spirit when they re-tied five-year-old Mansage Singh’s patka, a Sikh child's traditional headwear. Wearing a patka is an important tradition for Sikhs.

The Principal called the father of Mansage Singh and informed him about the incident which took place at the school. He said, “Hello Amar, I am sorry that your son’s turban came off this morning. I did my best re-tying it back by watching many YouTube videos but am missing the finishing touch. I am just wondering if you can come and tie his turban accordingly. We are really sorry. The boy who took his turban off is autistic. We explained to him why he must not touch the turban again, but he did it by accident.” 

The school Principal, Gerard Broadfoot, and teacher, Michelle Buckley, received a ‘Siropa’, a cloth of honor, from the gurdwara on Sunday. United Sikhs also presented them with the 'Defender of the Sikh Dastaar' award. Mansage Singh also received the honor from United Sikhs and the gurdwara for assisting his teacher and principal re-tie his patka.

At the event, the Principal said, “What we did at school with Mansage was to look after him and make him feel safe. We look after each other. We are very honored to be given this award today.”

“I feel very humbled to be here in front of so many people for doing such a small thing. It is something we would do every day with all the children to provide them with respect and care because we are a Catholic school for all people," said Michelle, Mansage’s teacher.

Sikhs frequently appear in the headlines due to turban removal or discrimination, according to Gurdeep Singh, the president of the Gurdwara, but this school's principal and teacher set an example and demonstrated that humanity is still alive by retying a Sikh student's patka. The Sikh community in Australia is greatly honored by their act.

Mansage's father, Amarpreet Singh, expressed his deep gratitude and sense of pride that his son is being educated in a school that respects all cultures and religions and takes care to safeguard all pupils' beliefs.

The Christian school that banned the “Patka”

The above incident stands in stark contrast to another at Melton Christian College in Melbourne last year, where Sidhak Singh, a five-year-old Sikh student, was denied admission because he wears a patka. The school said that his ‘patka’ did not comply with the school’s uniform policy, which prohibits students from wearing any type of religious head covering. 

Sagardeep Singh, Sidhak Singh's father, filed a complaint with the Human Rights Division of the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT). United Sikhs arranged for legal representation for Sagardeep Singh through the prestigious international law firm of Herbert Smith Freehills LLP. Later in September 2017, they won the legal battle against the school. The VCAT ruled in the parents’ favor, finding the school had discriminated against Sidhak.

Sidhak's father believed that the VCAT decision helped more people than just his son. He believes that this is a good decision for the Sikh community in Australia.

The incidents at the two schools send across the message that the freedom to practice your faith is not only a human right but an essential ingredient for fostering harmony in any multicultural nation, and promoting this freedom is a task for people of all faiths and none.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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