Editorial: Kirpan Should be Allowed in Schools; Compromises Must be Made in Name of Religious Freedom

March 10, 2004

Source: Montreal Gazette


On March 10, 2004 the Montreal Gazette ran an editorial about the recent ruling in which a Quebec court banned kirpans (the ceremonial Sikh daggers) from public schools. The editorial board wrote in defense of Sikhs' right to carry the kirpan, arguing, "If the Sikh ceremonial dagger called a kirpan really does pose a grave danger to public safety, then kirpans should be outlawed or strictly controlled, not only in schools but everywhere, like guns or, for that matter, hand grenades. The fact nobody actually proposes such a ban demonstrates and vindicates the common-sense view the kirpan, an object of religious significance, is no major menace...[T]here has never been a kirpan-violence episode in a Canadian school, or any school we know about. Other jurisdictions routinely allow the kirpan in school. Nothing on Earth cancels out all risk. If religious freedom and multiculturalism are going to mean anything in Canada, compromises will have to be made."