Florida Jail Refuses to Budge on Discriminatory Prison Policy
The fight for Sikh prisoner Jagmohan Singh Ahuja's right to keep his kesh (unshorn hair) in prison continues after Duval County Jail (Duval is a county in Florida, USA)officials refused to change discriminatory prison policies to accommodate a Sikh’s religious beliefs within the Jail. It is against Sikh religious practice to cut one’s hair, as kesh (unshorn hair) covered by a dastaar (Sikh turban) is one of five articles of faith which a Sikh must keep at all times. UNITED SIKHS, co-sponsoring organizations, and concerned lawyers have been actively advocating for Jagmohan's religious rights, contacting and writing Governor of Florida Charlie Crist, Mayor John Peyton of Jacksonville/Duval County, Florida State Representatives, the Duval County Sheriff's Department (in charge of the jail), and various federal, state, and local governmental officials.
Even though the Federal Bureau of Prisons and other states accommodate kesh (unshorn hair) covered by a dastaar (Sikh turban), Duval County Jail and the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office have taken strong positions against accommodation. Commenting on the possibility of accommodation, Lauri-Ellen Smith, spokeswoman for the sheriff's office stated, "we cannot do so if the religious practices compromise the security and safety of the correctional facilities. As such, it is required that all sentenced inmates have short hair and not wear head coverings, in order to prevent hiding contraband and/or weapons."
Assistant Chief Redman of Duval County Jail declared the Jail's position stating, "We're well within our rights to cut his hair, and we will continue to do so." Officials did not comment as to why it was possible to accommodate kesh and dastaar in Federal prisons and several other state jails but not in Florida.
Commenting on the jail's position UNITED SIKHS Staff Attorney Jaspreet Singh stated, "we are very concerned that Jagmohan's hair will be cut again in the near future. It is deeply disturbing that the jail would refuse to make any accommodation where examples exist in other ostensibly more secure prisons. The poignant irony of Jagmohan's escape from religious persecution in Afghanistan to now facing it in America should strike a deep chord in any citizen concerned with protecting religious freedom in America." Arvind Singh, a Florida attorney and member of UNITED SIKHS' legal team added, "We [Sikh Americans] are very concerned with the state of our union when a person's inalienable rights are not protected as our founding fathers directed."
UNITED SIKHS is working aggressively on a possible in court solution as well, but the current law on the issue is not favorable to Jagmohan's position and it will be a difficult legal battle. Our legal team is working with various partner organizations and attorneys to research and overcome these legal hurdles, and have been in regular discussion with the Glenn Katon of the American Civil Liberties Union in Florida who has been actively researching and assessing the problematic legal issues in the case. Katon describes the case as one that presents serious difficulties, but states that he is "not convinced that this is un-winnable." Katon further expressed that, "the ACLU is very concerned about this important issue and would like to be on the forefront of changing Florida's discriminatory policy."
Following are some pictures of demonstration that Sikhs from far away places took part in. A bus full of Sikhs came from Miami, some drove in cars from Orlando, Gainesville, Atlanta,GA. There are only about 5 or 6 Sikh families who are resident of Duval county. Give or take, we had about 100 people at the demonstration.
Check out the world's population and other interesting facts...
This is pretty cool. It’s a world clock and shows you many different things, such as population growth, cars, bicycles produced and lots of other things.Click here to see the WORLD CLOCK.
Turkish lawmakers vote to lift headscarf ban
Constitutional amendments alter rules for students, spur fierce opposition.Turkey's parliament on Saturday approved two constitutional amendments that would lift a decades-old ban on Islamic headscarves in universities, despite the fierce opposition of the secular establishment.Parliament voted 403-107 in favor of the amendment that would insert a paragraph into the Constitution stating that everyone has the right to equal treatment from state institutionsA Turkish Muslim girl holds the hand of a pupil, both with head scarf, as another one watches them during a pro-Islamist demonstration in Istanbul, Turkey, earlier this month.Click here to read the complete story on msn.com....Do we see a victory coming for Sikhs in france too ???? Anyone....
Barak O'bama denies that he is or ever was Muslim....
I also cry out loud to people who think that I am a Muslim. Sikhs get mistaken to be from Middle East, and to be Muslims. It has been stressed a lot in the past after 9/11 that 99.9 percent of people who wear Turbans in USA are Sikhs. Forget the 99.9%, I say one hundred percent of the people who wear Turbans in USA are Sikhs and only SIKHS. No offense to Muslims and there is nothing wrong in being a Muslim. But it is just wrong for people to assume what religion someone follows based on some frivolous e-mail or based on the looks.
Click here to watch video clip of O'bama interview.Click here to read the e-mail that has been circulated stating that Barak Obama is a Muslim.(For people who do not know who Barak Obama is, he is one of the front runners Democratic Presidential Candiate. He hopes to be nominated so that he could contest the Nov. 2008 Presidential elections in the USA. Currently he is serving as a Senetor in the state of Illinois.)
More than Just Do It......
Image shared from thelangarhall.com
CNN SIU : Pakistan Terror Central.
Last night there was a special report that was presented on CNN under their special investigation unit title of which was "Pakistan, Terror Central".
In case you guys missed it, there will be I believe a re-run or last part in the series tonight of the same report. Time of telecast is 8 & 11 p.m. eastern, 5 & 8 p.m. pacific American/Canadian time. For other CNN viewrs, please check your local T.V. listings. It shows how wasted the aid of over 10 billion dollars given to Pakistan by United States has gone.
India has been shouting this out loud for many many years, but no one believed them. Now that U.S. see whats coming (specially after Ms. Bhutto's assassination), Americans are starting to believe what India had been stressing for so many years. I hope the next U.S. president declares Pakistan a terrorist state.
Click here to read the Transcript of the telecast.
CNN's Cafferty File.....
The comments sent by me to one of the question posted by Jack Cafferty in Cafferty File section of Situation Room on CNN got published (and I think was also read on CNN, I missed it so I'm not sure about it).Read the comments sent by me on Cafferty File
It is the second to last comment on the page.