Sikh Man Denied Entry to Recreation Club in New Zealand Because of Turban

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Sikh man barred from Cosmopolitan Club over “No-Headwear” policy that includes turbans.

A Sikh man in Auckland, New Zealand, was denied entry to a club because he was wearing a turban. The man has filed a complaint with Human Rights Commission. The club says its long standing rules forbid wearing headgear inside. Because of the incident Sikh leaders are meeting to discuss how to prevent religious discrimination.

TVNZ One News reports that Gurpreet Singh and his colleagues had decided to go for a lunch at the Manurewa Cosmopolitan Club. The staff, however, refused to let them in, saying that the club had a no-headwear policy which included turbans. The situation wasn’t resolved, and in the end Singh and his workmates left for another place to eat.

Singh, who has lived in New Zealand for seven years, said that this was the first time he had experienced religious discrimination. He has now launched an anti-discrimination case with Human Rights Commission. The club’s manager Patricia Rangi told Daily Mail Australia that the incident was about “a long standing dress rule,” stressing that “it’s not religious, it’s not racist.”

A similar complaint against the club was filed five years ago. Back then the Human Rights Commission ruled that the club was allowed to determine its own requirements for entering the venue.

The incident has spurred a public debate in New Zealand, with Singh receiving calls from the club members saying they should change the policy and that Singh’s experience is discrimination. Manakau Indian Association president Veer Khar has stated that the club’s policy is “ignorant”.

Radio New Zealand News reports that the Sikh community is gathering in Auckland to discuss the incident further, and to make sure that such incidents are avoided in the future. New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key stated that New Zealand was a culturally tolerant society and that the club’s actions were “disappointing.

Sikhs living in New Zealand have doubled in number since 2006 to nearly 20,000.


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