Fabian at the Sikh Federation Annual Conference
On Sunday 18th September 2011, Fabian was invited to speak at the Sikh Federation Annual Conference that was held at Sedgley Street, near Wolverhampton in the West Midlands. The Federation is an alliance of Sikh communities that works closely with all political parties in the UK to promote Sikh interests and concerns: promotion of the Sikh religion, development of cultural and sporting activities, campaigning on human rights for Sikhs worldwide and arguing the case for an independent sovereign Sikh state.
Fabian is pictured here with Mr Dabinderjit Singh the Secretary of the Sikh Federation.
Fabian was welcomed to the conference as chair of the All Party Group for British Sikhs and spoke about the issues he is campaigning for on behalf of the Sikh community:
Fabian has been active to support Sikh men in their campaign for the turban to be respected at security checks in airports. In some European airports and also here in the UK at Leeds-Bradford Airport, Sikhs have been subject to their turbans being handled by security staff looking for concealed weapons and this has caused great hurt and offence. Fabian has argued for the widespread us of the sensitive swab technique that is now used at many other UK airports. A damp strip of cloth lightly wiped across the outer layer of the turban is then inserted in a very sensitive machine for analysis that can give an immediate alert if there are any detectable traces of explosive. This unobtrusive technique is acceptable to the Sikh community who willingly accept that security checks at airports are (sadly) needed. Fabian is leading a delegation of the all party parliamentary group to the European Union Transport Commissioner in order to put the case for this more sensitive approach to be put into widespread European use.
Fabian spoke in support of the call for justice and clemency for Professor Davinderpal Singh Bhullar who is sentenced to death in India for activities linked to his political dissidence. He was deported from Germany in 1995 after failing to gain asylum in that country and has spent much of the time since then held in solitary confinement on death row.
Another issue that has been resolved by Fabian together with the MPs group is that of the carrying of the Kirpan (ceremonial dagger) when attending the events of the Olympic Games. This practice had been threatened under the proposed security arrangements but Fabian reported that Lord Coe, chair of the London Organising Committee for the 2012 Olympics has now agreed to the carrying of the Kirpan for the games under certain conditions.