New Zealand: National List MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi sees a recent incident in Queenstown where a Sikh restaurant employee had his turban removed by an inebriated tourist, as a reminder of the importance of recognising cultural differences.
“I’m pleased the police are handling this unfortunate case, however such incidents highlight the need to remember the multicultural nature of our society. It also serves to remind us that we must be more understanding and tolerant of the different cultural practices undertaken within our communities.
“All cultures, religions, and ethnic groups have unique practices and protocols. One of the most significant for the Sikh religion is the requirement of Sikh men to wear a turban. This tradition dates back to 1469,” Mr Bakshi says.
The turban stands as recognition of the high moral standards that Guru Gobind Singhji, the tenth Sikh Guru, charted out for the Sikh community.
“For a Sikh, a turban is not a piece of cloth. Rather, it becomes the person’s head. For a Sikh the turban represents sovereignty, dedication, self-respect, courage and piety. It is a sacred symbol, based on the Guru’s teachings.
“New Zealand is a truly multi-cultural place, and it’s important to remember that isolated incidents like this do not represent the views of most New Zealanders,” Mr Bakshi says.