Since 2014, it has been mandatory to have visible ears on Norwegian passport photos. Man believe this is an attack on religious freedom.
The proposal for a new passport and ID card regulation has been in hearing since March, and when the consultation deadline expired last week, 842 consultation responses had been received, wrote Rogalands Avis newspaper.
It was mostly private individuals who had answered, and among them, there was one requirement that stood out, namely that the ear requirement must be rescinded.
“The requirement for visible ears on the facial photo breaks with religious freedom” wrote the Muslim Joint Council of Rogaland. Also the Muslim Forum Sandnes and Sikhs & Punjabis of Rogaland were among those who responded to the ear requirement.
In the proposal for consultation, there are two alternatives for facial photos – one with and one without the requirement for visible ears for people who use religious headgear. The Ministry argued that visible ears are important in order to make a safe identification. “The ears are as unique as fingerprints and to a small extent are influenced by weight changes, makeup and ageing.”
Ingrid Rosendorf Joys, leader of the Co-operation Council for Religious and Life Sciences (STL), said Sikhs are among those who are particularly affected.
‘’The requirement to show the ears is a disproportionate intervention in the freedom of religion’’ she said.
In Norway, she estimated that there are about 250 Sikhs wearing the turban.
© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today