Musings —01.18.2011 03:48 PM—
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.