An All-Party Sikh Interest Group has been launched in the European Parliament, despite many of the Sikh delegates being denied access to the building due to wearing a Kirpan.

Lib Dem MEP Liz Lynne, said that they had hoped to hold their first meeting in one of the Parliaments main rooms, but that the Parliamentary Authorities had ruled the Kirpan to be a security threat and denied the Sikh members entry.

This is the third time that leading Sikhs have been denied entry to the Parliament due to wearing the ceremonial Kirpan.

The Kirpan is seen as an article of faith by the Sikh religion and not as a weapon.

Liz Lynne, who is also a member of the European Parliament’s Sub- Committee on Human Rights and has campaigned on a variety of Sikh issues, said that it was outrageous that the European Parliament was discriminating against the Sikh community in this way: “This new Parliamentary group is intended to look in particular at how Sikhs are treated within Europe. Unfortunately it would seem that we do not have to go very far to find examples of the discrimination that many Sikh’s face everyday.

“I am deeply disappointed that the European Parliamentary authorities refuse to recognise the right of Sikh people to wear the Kirpan.

"The Kirpan is not a weapon, it is a religious symbol. This is not a question of security but one of religious freedom.

“In the UK the right to wear the Kirpan is enshrined in law. This includes allowing Sikh’s wearing the Kirpan to enter the Palace of Westminster. Therefore I do not see why the rules should be different in the European Parliament. "I very much hope that now we have this all party interest group on Sikh issues that a number of problems facing this community across the EU can be addressed"