Toronto, Canada, 19th May 2020: Two Sikh doctors in Quebec by the names of Dr. Saluja chooses to give up their faith over their profession. The Saluja brothers took a personal decision to cut their beards to fit the masks over their faces. This action has raised questions on the religious rights of practicing Sikhs and other religious minorities. To describe this as a religious sacrifice during the Covid-19 crisis raises serious challenges for Sikhs around the world and sets an incorrect precedent.
Practicing Sikhs must wear 5 articles of faith of which one is to keep uncut hair. A clarification is necessary from the Saluja brothers as this should not be considered a religious sacrifice but a personal decision. Asking a Sikh to cut his/her hair is extremely offensive and is a violation of their fundamental right to practice their faith. Sikhs in the healthcare field can safely perform their duties with the right PPE equipment and not having to compromise their faith. The specialized equipment such as CAPR/PAPR can work with existing masks to ensure a proper seal around their face and to perform their duties.
Sikhs in the military and medical field have come up with a solution to create an airtight seal for the N95 mask with a full beard and using the N95 mask in the field.
There are many practicing Sikh doctors using PPE equipment such as PAPR/CAPR while serving in the frontlines of the Covid-19 crises. Where required Sikh doctors should ask their serving medical hospitals to provide PAPR/CAPR devices during such a crisis. Giving up on your faith is non-negotiable and should make the Khalsa persist to find alternatives in today’s times of available modern medical equipment and technology advances.
World Sikh Parliament Canada region member Chamkaur Singh said, “Sikhs in history have not given up their faith but have stood up to the challenges. No one should have to choose between their faith and profession.”
The Human Rights Council member, Sukhwant Singh said, “Human Right values are a god-gifted right for everyone. If you face an issue that challenges your faith, reach out to us for assistance, our legal team that works in coordination with other Advocacy groups will assist”
World Sikh Parliament appeals to all Sikh medical professionals and those in the front-lines to explore additional alternatives and where difficulty arises please reach out to us for assistance at 289-474-5446 [email protected]
Issued by General Secretaries:-