A religieuse object or a weapon? 

by Eva Castro on December 3, 2017 - 4:54pm

 

A religieuse object or a weapon? 

The article ''Should religion be an excuse for carrying daggers?'' talks about different issues where religious acts or objects are in conflict with laws, this article puts emphasis in the Kirpan-carrying. The author informs us that a Kirpan is a ceremonial knife used by the Sikhs. The ceremonial knife or dagger is one of five "articles of faith" which also includes Kesh (unshorn hair) and Kara (steel bangle) that are worn by practicing Sikhs. One of the issues brought in this article is the Kirpan being in the possession of a child at a school. Some believe that this is a bad idea because the ceremonial knife is still a weapon and it should not be permitted in the school grounds. Other individuals, are asking why are only a specific group of people aloud to have the benefit of possessing a knife if it is against the law. This article also exposes that toleration, equality, and respect for others are important values in Britain and any multicultural society. In liberalized societies like the UK, activities are generally restricted only when they pose a significant risk of harm to others. A good example could be the restriction of drinking and driving (or texting and driving) because they put in danger the lives of others. The fact that only some can have the ceremonial dagger is being seen as an act of favoritism which is not the case. In the UK, the act of Kirpan-carrying seems to be a bigger issue since they have a problem with knife crimes. Sir Mota Singh QC, Britain's first Asian judge, who is now retired, says Sikhs should be allowed to have their Kirpan but this raised the question of how far is society willing to "bend the rules" to accommodate people who wish to practice a certain religion. Indeed, philosopher Rebecca Roache questions if religion can ever justify loopholes in the law. For those who do not mind Sikhs have possession of their Kirpan, they believe that by restricting the Kirpan-carrying because of its potential harm to the public we should also restrict all harmful activities (example: sports). In my opinion, Sikhs should be allowed to have their Kirpan because of the religious meaning it has to them. I do not believe the Sikhs are using the religion card as way to have a dagger with them at all times, their Kirpan is hidden like a crucifix is hidden under our cloths. While I understand those who believe that a Kirpan is dangerous, I believe that objects that could cause us harm are all around us. Furthermore, in the context of a classroom this ceremonial dagger is hidden under the cloths and while it might seem like a danger in the hands of a child, aren't sharpened scissors or pencils the same? 

 ''Should religion be an excuse for carrying daggers?'' BBC News, Tuesday, 9 February 2010, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/8506074.stm . December 3rd ,2017