Quebec Soccer Federation Must Revisit Turban Ban, says Nina Grewal

Member of Parliament Nina Grewal (Fleetwood-Port Kells) is calling on the Quebec Soccer Federation torevisit its decision to ban Sikh religious headwear. The Quebec organization is refusing to follow the lead of the Canadian governing body and other provincial soccer federations and permit Sikh soccer players to play while wearing turbans, patkas, or keskis.

“I am deeply disappointed that the Quebec Soccer Federation has chosen to maintain its ban on Sikh religious headwear,” declared Ms. Grewal. “Children and their families shouldn’t have to choose between their religion and playing organized sports.”

“I have always been proud of our country’s diversity and that kids, no matter their religion or ethnicity, could play together free from discrimination of any kind. I therefore hope that the Quebec Soccer Federation amends its stand and lifts the restriction so that Sikh children can return to the soccer field.”

The Conservative Government has been a strong defender of diversity, multiculturalism, and religious freedom both in Canada and abroad. In fact, it was our government that created Canada’s first Office of Religious Freedom. We are committed to a person’s right to freedom of religion or faith. We have made it a priority to protect and promote this universal right and to promote pluralism generally as it binds our diverse peoples together and allows individuals to retain their cultural, linguistic and religious heritage within a framework of shared citizenship.

“I am not a soccer player, but I’ve watched many games, and I simply cannot understand how a turban could be seen as a safety risk,” continued Grewal. “Turbans are soft fabric and they’re not going to harm anyone. I can see no valid reason for a ban on the wearing of turbans or other religious headwear by soccer players in Canada.”

“Turbans are religiously significant to Sikhs. Sikhs have fought in both World Wars,they have sacrificed their lives for freedom and democracy, and won the highest recognitions and honours. It is time to put an end to unnecessary controversies regarding the wearing of turbans,” concluded Grewal.