When religion and law collide

Since the incident in 2009 in which a Sikh boy was removed
from a North London school for wearing a 5-inch Kirpan, there has been
continued debate about where to draw the line when religion and the law
clash.

Sikhs follow strict traditions of dress including the observance of
five dress articles, also called the 5 K’s; one of which is a Kirpan (sword) which
is a ceremonial sword, symbolizing a vow to protect the weak and
helpless.

Fuel has been added to the fire this week after Britain’s first Asian judge said that “not allowing
someone who is baptised to wear a Kirpan is not right”.  Even though
Sikhs carrying the Kirpan are exempt from prosecution under the offensive weapons act, there has still been heated
discussion about the safety aspects of allowing people to carry these
knives and many Sikhs have problems gaining entry to tourist
attractions.

Where does the balance lie?

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