01.18.2011 03:48 PM

And, will knives now be removed from the National Assembly’s chic cafeterias and cafés?

Quebec legislature denies access to Sikhs carrying ceremonial daggers (Kirpan-Denied-Que)
Source: The Canadian Press
Jan 18, 2011 15:39

QUEBEC – Several Sikhs were denied entry into the Quebec legislature Tuesday amid a heated debate over multiculturalism and just where to draw the line when it comes to tolerating cultural practices.

Security officials at Quebec’s assemblee nationale refused to let them in because they were wearing kirpans, small stylized daggers worn by some religious Sikhs.

Four representatives from the World Sikh Organization of Canada had planned to attend public hearings but were told by security to leave their daggers at the door if they wanted to enter. They refused.

The provincial government reacted with cautious language to the decision. The opposition Parti Quebecois, meanwhile, applauded heartily and said Canadian-style multiculturalism was unwelcome in Quebec.

The timing of the incident was laden with symbolism.

The visitors had planned to attend legislative hearings into a bill that would set some limits on religious practices _ namely, denying government services to Muslim women with covered faces.

The Sikhs said that, while their own religion forbids covering women’s faces, they planned to speak out against the bill anyway, in the name of religious tolerance.

20 Comments

  1. Rick T. says:

    It is about time . Good for you Quebec.

    • Warren says:

      So, it’s okay for the white guys to have knives upstairs, but not okay for the brown ones who try and visit, Rick? Is that right?

      • hugger says:

        They use Daggers to cut the filet mignon and to spread the Grey Poupon? Who knew?

      • The white guys have knives upstairs?Which white guys and where is “upstairs”???
        I thought that I read that carrying a kirpan is an individual’s decision and not a religious requirement.
        Correct or no?
        Even so,should they have allowed a group of four men enter their legislature while carrying daggers?I doubt that I could get in while carrying a small knife used to pare my nails………which to me can/could be a religious experience.

        • smelter rat says:

          Uh, Tim, let’s put our thinking caps on for a minute. Give it another shot, it will come to you. Maybe not.

          • Nope,sorry……..cap didn’t work.Why don’t you enlighten me…….
            I’m just a simple ‘ole guy who is of the opinion that too many people come to this country and then demand that we bend to their demands.
            Reports suggest that these people were told they would be denied entrance if they refused to leave their kirpins at the door.They brought them,refused to leave them at the door and them complained to the media about it.
            seems to be a story that is repeated way too often.
            p.s. has it been established as to whether these men were Canadian citizens…….or maybe it shouldn’t matter….

      • Rick T. says:

        Of course not. This is a weapon and should not be allowed in public places. But of course this is not political correct to have an opinion in this country when it involves minority rights.

  2. TDotRome says:

    “Canadian-style multiculturalism was unwelcome in Quebec.”…………….What the eff is that crap?

    Although, no knives anywhere……..ceremonial or not…….white or brown.

    Remember this great PSA? Still holds true…….knife or gun.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lab6gyWsMXo

  3. Darren K says:

    Well, Warren,

    About 10 years ago, I was taking an evening walk near parliament hill. I was casually dressed, had a small point and shoot with me, and for years I’ve carried a small pocket knife with me.

    The guard at the door said parliament was still sitting, and I could go into the gallery to see what took place. I decided to go in. At the official security check, they took my camera, and my small pocket knife and put it into one of the bins they had there then for this sort of stuff. I went in, watched the house in evening action (Boring) and left. Of course I got my camera and knife back at the door.

    Now, while I carry a pocket knife with me almost everywhere, it is not for any religious reason. Just a habit, that I still do to this day. Of course, it’s not on me when I fly (lost a good one that way).

    The rules are the rules no matter who or what.

    If you took your daughter to a country that says women must cover their face, would you have her do it, or would you yell racism? Have you stopped saying Merry Christmas?

    No, it’s time that we all live by the same rules in this country, just as we are expected to do in the countries we visit, the churches, synagogs and Mosques we visit.

    Also, the memory of a guy entering the building with a machine gun is still very prevalent in their minds I am sure. It is for me.

  4. jStanton says:

    Jesus… I almost took the bait. But no heavy lifting for me tonight!

  5. billg says:

    Why is a knife a symbol of a peaceful religion? Why are we not allowed to say that a knife is not a symbol of a peaceful religion? Its a knife. Its symbol is that if you attack me or provoke me I’ll defend myself and probably kill you. I cant walk around with a knife around my belt. Its a knife. It doesnt belong in a mall, or a restaurant, or a theatre, or, either provincial or federal parliaments. How exactly does the word “faggot” get banned from a song from 1980 and yet, people see nothing wrong with allowing a man to walk around with a knife in his belt because its a religious symbol from thousands of years ago? Maybe I need to be enlightened or have some sense talked into me, but, its a freakin knife!

  6. Michael Teper says:

    What if I were to profess my own idiosyncratic personal religion, (the “Church of the Second Amendment and Ill-Regulated Militia”) that dictates that I am obligated to carry a concealed loaded pistol whenever I visit a government building? Does the answer change depending on whether I am a white guy, black guy, brown guy, red guy or yellow guy???

    Incidentally, I recall a legend about the origin of chopsticks — the ancient Chinese were wary of people posessing knives, even for eating, near the person of the Emperor.

  7. moose says:

    The bigots aren’t all in Quebec obviously.

    • Darren K says:

      Why are people bigots, or racists because they think no one should bring a weapon into a secure area? Racism is defined by:

      “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, esp. so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”

      It’s just good sense not to allow weapons to be carried into a secure area. This does not attempt to put down a race, or religion as either “inferior or superior to another race”.

      Do you think we could one day use common sense?

  8. Derek Pearce says:

    How are these worn? Is a kirpan readily accessible to the wearer? If so, sorry, ban it from being brought in. If not, ie if it’s truly strapped down (covered fully before even one’s pants are on) against the leg and down along the upper leg of the pant leg, then allow them– but not if it’s accessible by rolling up your cuff. Again, if ready-in-seconds-flat to be flashed, nope too bad, leave it at the door and pick it up on your way out.

  9. smelter rat says:

    Wiki is your friend: A Sikh’s religion forbids the use the kirpan in anger or for a malicious attack. However, a Sikh may use it as a weapon for self-defence or to protect a person in need.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirpan

    • Derek Pearce says:

      The wiki article gives no indication how/where the kirpan is worn. What are we talking about in practical terms here? I’m ignorant and genuinely curious to learn. And sorry, “defensive” weapon or not, no dice if it’s readily accessible. All of human history is replete with defensive weapons gone awry. If it’s completely ceremonial, ie completely inaccessible, then fine.

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