Tempest in a Turban

Jean Delisle & David Rand

To accuse the Quebec Soccer Federation of intolerance, xenophobia and racism for banning the turban — as Canadian journalists do — is absurd. The slur of racism is particularly outrageous and resembles the tortured illogic of a theologian : the QSF decision does not exclude Sikhs, rather it bans the turban during a team sport. Failure to recognize the distinction amounts to confusing the person with the religious symbol they are wearing. Everyone seems to have forgotten that a turban can be removed during a match without having to renounce one’s religion. The player remains a Sikh when the game is over. In the Punjab, where Sikhism originated, 80% of young Sikhs no longer wear the turban. At the last Olympic Games in China, only Canadian Sikhs wore this religious symbol inherited from a bygone era. This is a clear example of Canadian multiculturalism in action: sadly it is more important to display one’s difference than it is to respect the rules of integration and interculturality. Which side is being intolerant?


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