For those interested in the exploring the limits of religious freedom and accomodation within larger society, there’s an interesting case that is about to go before Canada’s supreme court.
(Better yet, it doesn’t directly involve Islam, so the arguments already stated might be avoided.)
Top court to rule on Sikh kirpan case
[color=blue]Canada’s top court will rule Thursday on whether a Montreal Sikh boy can wear his ceremonial dagger to school, a case that could give some direction to governments on how far they must go to accommodate certain religious beliefs.[/color]
The case stems from a November 2001 incident at Ste-Catherine-Laboure school in LaSalle. Gurbaj Singh’s cloth-wrapped dagger came loose from around his waist and fell to the ground at the elementary school.
The school’s principal ordered the 12-year-old to remove the kirpan, but Gurbaj left school rather than remove the 10-centimetre long dagger, which he says is a key component of his faith. He eventually switched to another school.
Although banning the weapon was a hindrance to freedom of religion, the court ruled that community safety comes first.
Manjeet Singh, the Sikh chaplain at McGill and Concordia universities, who also assisted Gurbaj Singh’s legal team, said baptized Sikhs believed the kirpan is a symbol of courage, freedom and responsibility to stand up for their rights.
“[color=blue]It is one of the five articles of faith that every baptized Sikh is supposed to have on their person, all the time[/color],” said Manjeet Singh.
[color=blue]The Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Canada ensures that every citizen in Canada can practice their religion without any hindrance[/color], he said.
Craig Buchanan, the vice-president of English affairs with for the Quebec Federation of Parents Committee, said the issue is divisive.
“It’s a tricky situation. [color=blue]If you start to try to limit the religious freedoms, then what’s that going to do to other religious freedoms?[/color]” said Buchanan. “And if you seek to compromise safety in schools, how far is that going to go as far as safety in the schools?” [/quote]