Finland is about to cross another watershed in cultural diversity, when busman Gill Sukhdarshan Singh of Vantaa was prohibited from using a turban at work, reports Helsingin Sanomat. Some legal experts see it an open-and-shut legal case.
The excuses for a turban ban by bus company Veolia highlight, however, a wider challenge facing our ever-growing cultural diversity.
That “challenge” is nothing more than acknowledgement by Finland that we live in a culturally diverse society today. Other ethnic groups and cultures have just as much right to feel at home in Finland.
The whole turban case is as well an example how far behind we lag with other European countries concerning cultural diversity. Sikh bus drivers in England won such rights over forty years ago in 1969.
Despite the arguments used by the bus company to justify the ban, one of the most absurd reasons stated is that waring a tuban is a security risk.
How does wearing a turban cause a security risk?
Singh’s attitutde and approach to the ban by his employer is the correct one that other immigrants and minorities should take when challenging intlerance. “I’m doing this for my children’s sake so they won’t have to [fight for such a right],” he said.
The case should be seen not only as important to Sikhs living in Finland, but to all immigrants and visible minorities living in this country. Greater acceptance of a group’s rights will have a positive effect on promote greater acceptance of other groups in this country.
On an editorial in Saturday’s Helsingin Sanomat, the daily writes about the turban ban. It hopes that the case is won by Singh.
Meanwhile, retailer HOK-Elanto announced that its employees can wear veils at work, reports Helsingin Sanomat. One of the reasons why their is a policy change in the dress code is because many Muslim women work for the company.
Analysts believe that this practice will become common in other Finnish companies.
While Finland takes proactive steps to accept other groups in this country, parties like the Perussuomalaisiet (PS) are fighting tooth and nail against cultural diversity.
PS MP Vesa-Matti Saarakkala, a well-known anti-immigration lobbyist who is anti-Muslim, has introduced a law initiative in parliament that aims to ban the burqa and nijab in public places. Despite the fact that we’re speaking of a minute minority of women in Finland (I have never seen a woman wearing such clothes in this country), he considers the law important because it is “a preventive measure.”
The law is not expected to pass in parliament.