Quebec School Board's Ban of Kirpans Overturned

March 3, 2006

Source: BBC News

On March 3, 2006 BBC News reported, "Canadian Sikhs should be allowed to wear small daggers central to their faith when they go to school, the country's Supreme Court has ruled. In an 8-0 judgement, the court reversed the ruling of a Montreal school board, which banned Gurbaj Singh Multani from wearing his dagger, known as a kirpan. The kirpan is deemed sacred by Sikhs as a symbol of power and truth. School authorities banned the kirpan in 2001 after an objection by a parent concerned about pupil security. Announcing the judgement, the Supreme Court said that a total ban on kirpans violated the country's Charter of Rights. The charter guarantees total religious freedom within Canada. 'Religious tolerance is a very important value of Canadian society,' Justice Louise Charron wrote in the judgement. 'If some students consider it unfair that Gurbaj Singh may wear his kirpan to school, it is incumbent on the schools to discharge their obligation to instil in their students this value that is... at the very foundation of our democracy.'"