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How To Discriminate Against Sikhs By Virgin Active

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After being thrown out of one of their gyms for my kirpan accidentally showing, I wrote to VA and received the following, has anyone else had similar treatment at their gym ?

Thank you for your email of 11 September 2010, please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

I can clarify our position regarding the wearing of a kirpan. Virgin Active as a company will not allow members to enter our facilities with any object that could be deemed a weapon. I understand you referring to your religion when discussing this matter with Amanda religion, however on researching this, I can see that we do not have a legal obligation to allow you to wear your kirpan.

May I take this opportunity to refer you to our club rules, specifically:

- You must be dressed in suitable attire at all times when on Club premises and appropriate exercise clothing is required whilst exercising in a Club. Guidance as to suitable attire may be obtained from the Club General Manager who may, at his/her discretion, require you to leave a Club premises or part of a Club premises, if your attire is not considered suitable.

On the date in question, Amanda consulted advice from Head Office and was advised that if you would not cooperate and remove the kirpan, that you should be requested to leave the premises.

I realise this may not be the response you were hoping for, however I trust I have clarified our position on this matter.

If you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Carrie Holmes, Member Feedback Co-ordinator - Milton Keynes Head Office VIRGIN ACTIVE HEALTH CLUBS

Telephone: 01908546690

www.virginactive.co.uk

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Either of the two mentioned groups OR Sikh Coalition.

edit- Nevermind, it's a UK based gym.

I'm not too sure about laws about the kirpan and private businesses on these things from the UK.

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Thanks for the sound advice, and yes it is important to take it further to prevent this happening in the future as well as an opportunity to educate others. Kirpan is not a weapon.

Apparently when it is their own property they can do what they like. Whats next no turbans in the gym?

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see a solicitor and sue them as your kirpan poses no risk to anyone as it would do say at an airport and therefore it is wrong to force you not to follow your religion......the law on kirpans allows wearing of kirpan in public places

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What you need to do is take the part of the government documents that explain Kirpan is not a weaponed, but an artical of faith, and on those bases they cannot kick you out of the gym. If they do then you as an individual can take legal action against this gym. But before going to all these legal processes, just send a letter or directly contact the head office and speak with the person in charge. Don't talk to some low level manager or whatever, they can't do anything. All they do is take orders from head office. Also if its a small gym then most likely the head manger is the owner of the gym and it would be best to speak with him/her directly, instead of sending a letter. But do bring the government documents with you to show physical evidence of it.

If speaking to the authority of this gym fails then get in contact with the appropriate body to represent or speak on your behalf.

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I do not know if there is any sikh advocacy group in UK for such issues.

In uSA there is Sikh coalition and SALDEF who take up such violations.

You should approach the appropriate organization of credibility such as

Sikh federation. They should be able to help in this case.

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Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!

Your kirpan snuck out at the gym, mine snuck out at home and my roommate (of one month) went on a rage with the landlord to try to get it so I couldn't even OWN it. Since I'm in U.S. I had to get Sikh Coalition involved, and I've been a bit of a nervous wreck since, since every time I walk through the apartment to go to the bathroom or something I'm afraid it's going to sneak out and cause a huge argument (my kirpan has Ik Onkar Satnam Waheguru engraved on the shaft, I don't take lightly to being told to remove it). Sikhi is a religion of sacrifice and martyrdom. What you and I are going through, our anxiety is the sacrifice, but we must face also through probably legal means, me with the Coalition, you probably by facing the head of the that company with legal paperwork showing that a judge decreed a kirpan is not a weapon but is a religious article whose used is protected by law and maybe even next step a lawsuit. Between you and me, I've never been casual about wearing a kirpan; I've always been nervous about going through checkpoints, to the doctor, to hospital, public buildings like court house, etc., bending over and it popping out on the street, so many places where unknowledgeable people will misconstrue--and you're already wearing a turban which here (New York City) means you are up to no good anyway... Best of luck to you. Hope you find a gym where you are comfortable and feel at home and can get some kind of satisfaction from these other people.

Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Waheguru ji ki Fateh!

After being thrown out of one of their gyms for my kirpan accidentally showing, I wrote to VA and received the following, has anyone else had similar treatment at their gym ?

Thank you for your email of 11 September 2010, please accept my apologies for the delay in replying.

I can clarify our position regarding the wearing of a kirpan. Virgin Active as a company will not allow members to enter our facilities with any object that could be deemed a weapon. I understand you referring to your religion when discussing this matter with Amanda religion, however on researching this, I can see that we do not have a legal obligation to allow you to wear your kirpan.

May I take this opportunity to refer you to our club rules, specifically:

- You must be dressed in suitable attire at all times when on Club premises and appropriate exercise clothing is required whilst exercising in a Club. Guidance as to suitable attire may be obtained from the Club General Manager who may, at his/her discretion, require you to leave a Club premises or part of a Club premises, if your attire is not considered suitable.

On the date in question, Amanda consulted advice from Head Office and was advised that if you would not cooperate and remove the kirpan, that you should be requested to leave the premises.

I realise this may not be the response you were hoping for, however I trust I have clarified our position on this matter.

If you require any further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Kind Regards

Carrie Holmes, Member Feedback Co-ordinator - Milton Keynes Head Office VIRGIN ACTIVE HEALTH CLUBS

Telephone: 01908546690

www.virginactive.co.uk

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Please email your contact details and details of event to law-uk@unitedsikhs.org

veerji Im sending you a message here to.

UNITED SIKHS website has reporting fetures for a range of possible issues a Sikh may experienceplease see www.unitedsikhs.org

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That is what I say ,Sikh religion is not easy to follow.

The Sikh Federation is the main organisation in the UK to take up these sort of issues, they have a powerful group of MPs connected to them too.Please contact them.

http://www.sikhfederation.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52&Itemid=68

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I say all sikhs should boycott Virgin Active Gyms worldwide until sikhs are allowed in with kirpans. A facebook group should be set up spreading this message and a petition signed to overturn this rule.

If it's not overturned, they'll be losing a lot of business, sikhs all over the world are getting fit and healthy to be able to better focus on paath and naam and the loss of business might hit them abit.

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I say all sikhs should boycott Virgin Active Gyms worldwide until sikhs are allowed in with kirpans. A facebook group should be set up spreading this message and a petition signed to overturn this rule.

If it's not overturned, they'll be losing a lot of business, sikhs all over the world are getting fit and healthy to be able to better focus on paath and naam and the loss of business might hit them abit.

there are loads of Sikhs that attend that gym as it is in west london, I terminated my membership on the spot in protest, they should too !

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there are loads of Sikhs that attend that gym as it is in west london, I terminated my membership on the spot in protest, they should too !

If you need help making a flier I can help you make one, you can post it around the gym outside and distribute it around Gurudwaras.

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If you need help making a flier I can help you make one, you can post it around the gym outside and distribute it around Gurudwaras.

thanks, that sounds like a great idea

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