Sikhs in Quebec who want to play soccer cannot do so now if they are wearing turbans or patkas. This ban by Quebec is highly racist & objectionable. As is quite natural, prominent political figures have denounced this ban and have urged Quebec to overturn it. But strangely NDP and even The Liberals, who are otherwise quite vocal on other issues, have chosen to remain silent on this important one.
Let’s see what the Federal Sports Minister, Bal Gosal had to say about this issue in the house.
” Mr. Speaker, we believe that amateur sports like soccer should encourage the participation of children rather than exclude them. We see no valid reason why kids should be banned from playing soccer because of their religion. I encourage the Quebec Soccer Federation to follow the lead of soccer leagues across Canada and around the world not to create barriers for children who want to play the sport they love. Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, the leader of the NDP and the leader of Liberal party should be ashamed of their silence on this matter. Thank you, Mr. Speaker”, said Bal Gosal.
It is also quite strange that the same BC NDP and Liberal MPs keep speaking vehemently against the injustices done hundred years ago when the occupants of Komagata Maru ship were denied entry into Canada. But they do not want to say anything much on this current issue which affects more than 200 young Sikhs in Quebec who cannot play soccer because of their religious beliefs.
It is quite hard to explain to a five-year-old kid that he cannot play soccer with other kids because he is wearing a patka. Let’s also see the highly insensitive statement of Brigitte Frot, the Director-General of Quebec Soccer Federation.
“They (these kids) can play in their backyard. But not with official referees and with official rules of soccer. They have no choice”, said Brigitte Frot.
This seems to be a clear case of political compulsions. The leader of NDP does not want to say anything (and he does not want any of his MPs & MLAs to say anything on this issue either) to alienate Quebec because it remains an important province in terms of seats.
But this is a question of young kids who are being denied their freedom to play. This should not be about politics.
The Quebec Soccer Federation did not have any figures to suggest that wearing a turban or patka can be dangerous on the soccer field. They do not have the figures because there has been no instance of a security risk because a young kid is wearing a patka and playing. This ban is simply racist. And the people who have been entrusted by the voters to speak up about such glaring issues should speak up about it.
On Thursday, a game on the soccer pitch at the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple in LaSalle (Montreal) was organized by young kids wearing patkas as a protest against the decision by the Quebec Soccer Federation. But that arrogant soccer federation remains adamant.
In every other province in Canada, kids being raised in the Sikh religion can wear turbans on the soccer pitch while playing with their provincial associations. In Quebec, they cannot. Every sane person should speak up against this ban.