Religious Symbol or Deadly Weapon?
by alexlabrosse on December 3, 2017 - 5:31pm
The issue of being allowed to wear the traditional ceremonial dagger named the “Kirpan” has been an ongoing debate hear in Quebec over the past little while. This issue has been especially controversial when debating whether it should or should not be allowed in schools. The following article describes why the law was overturned, and how today Sikh students are allowed to wear their religious ceremonial dagger in school. This issue arose because of a 12-year-old Sikh boy who was denied by the Quebec schoolboard from wearing his Kirpan. It was brought to our attention that this total ban infringed on Gubraj Singh’s guarantees of religious freedom under the charter of rights and freedoms. There were simply conditions established which make the Kirpan nothing but a religious symbol; the knife must be worn under the clothes and sewn into a sheath.
The court went on to say “The kirpan is almost totally stripped of its objectively dangerous characteristics, access to the kirpan is now fully impeded by the cloth envelope sewn around the wooden sheath. In these circumstances, the argument relating to safety can no longer reasonably succeed.” Basically, all they are trying t establish is that those who abide to the religion and have to wear the kirpan do not mean harm in doing so. It isn’t a weapon, and you can’t simply ban this symbol when there have never been any issues. It would be like banning crosses from all public schools; these aren’t laws that need to be made. A good point was made by Justice Louis Charron, saying "If some students consider it unfair that Gurbaj Singh may wear his kirpan to school while they are not allowed to have knives in their possession, it is incumbent on the schools to discharge their obligation to instill in their students this value that is ... at the very foundation of our democracy." It isn’t said who made a point about comparing the kirpan to knives in general, but to me this is rather ignorant. If people are solely implying that Sikhs are bringing the kirpans into school simply to cause terror, they have the complete wrong image. You can’t just remove the most important symbol and deny them from practicing their religion. After all, judging by the view that Quebec promotes of multiculturalism, this shouldn’t even be a topic of discussion in the court room, we should have qualified supervisors in the schools who can handle this situation. Are you for or against these kirpans in schools?