Sikhism in France
French Sikhs have been in the limelight since the 2004 turban ban, banning Sikhs and other religions from sporting a headwear. This has met with anger and world wide protest by the Sikhs. At least five Sikhs wearing turbans or cloth covers for their uncut hair were barred from classrooms near Paris. For 3 years the Sikhs continuously persuaded the authorities to lift the ban on the turban. After no avail the Sikhs opened their own private Sikh school, called Shere Punjab complexe. Currently Shingara Singh Mann is fighting the case for the Sikhs to have a photograph with their turbans for the driving licenses.
Shere Punjab complexe
Shere Punjab complexe is a private Sikh school in Paris. This school was created in the wake of the rule made by French authorities banning any religious symbol including the Sikh Turban. The school costed around 300.000 €, excluding building charges. The Sikh school was built by a local Sikh entrepreneur whose son was excluded from a public school in 2004. The boy had refused to remove his turban in class. The school began with less than 15 pupils.
There are 5 gurudwaras in France. All of them are in Paris city.
- Gurudwara Singh Sabha Association, Bobigny.
- Gurudwara Sahib, Bourget.
- Gurudwara Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib, Bondy.
- Gurdwara Sahib, ville Pantin
Areas with significant Sikh population:
- Ville Pantin
- La Courneuve
- Le Bourget
- Seine St Denis
Gurmat Camp 2007
From Wednesday 4th July to Sunday 15th July, the Dashmesh Sikh Academy Paris held it's annual Gurmat Camp in Paris at Gurdwara Singh Sabha, Bobigny. Around 200 or so children aged from 3 to 20 years old attended the 12 day camp. There were various classes, which included Gurbaani Santhiyaa (learning correct pronunciation), Sikh History, learning Panjabi, Gurmat Sangeet (Sikh musicology), Gurmat Vichaar (discussions on various issues and topics). The classes were held by Giani Pritam Singh jee from Southall, Bhai Ranjit Singh jee from Germany and Bhai Manvir Singh Khalsa (U.K.) were invited to teach the children, as well local elder sevadaars.
Below some photos (Credit for Photos: Bh. Manvir Singh Khalsa (U.K.)