Kirpan: When Knife Restrictions Collide with Religious Freedom
As part of the Five Ks, the kirpan is a dagger that is central to the Sikh faith. Sikhs carry the dagger on their person, and that can conflict with knife restrictions. Simply put, Sikhs can find themselves forced to choose between adhering to their faith and breaking the law.
New Zealand, which restricts the public carry of daggers such as the kirpan, is one such place where this scenario plays out frequently. It’s home to 19,000 Sikhs, which is why that status could change in the future.
National Party MP Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi wants the law changed to make it legal for Sikhs to carry ceremonial daggers.
It’s one of five articles of Sikh faith, that baptised Sikhs must carry the small, curved knives known as kirpan.
Bakshi said Kiwi Sikhs were “criminalised” by not being granted an exemption under the Crimes Act to practice their faith and wear the kirpan.
So what’s the hold up? It comes down to the challenge of separating “good” daggers from “bad” daggers.
“It requires an exception to the law carrying what could be classed as a weapon and it has implications for going onto aircraft, that sort of thing, you just have to really careful.”
That “careful” approach may be small comfort for the 19,000 Sikhs living in New Zealand, as indicated by similar attempts around the world to balance public safety and religious expression. Denmark, for example, ruled kirpans as illegal items in 2006. In Sweden, a kirpan must be dull in order to be carried in public. In the United Kingdom, where public knife possession could result in years in prison, kirpans are generally accepted as being lawful, although it may take a trip to court to prove it.
Knife Companies Play April Fool’s Day Pranks
Not one to miss out on a holiday built around jokes (the knife puns write themselves!), the knife community sharpened its wits for April Fool’s Day. Here are two great examples.
Yoga Pants Include Room for Knives
If you ever thought to yourself, “What this yoga session needs is a knife strapped against my pelvis,” you’re in luck. Alexo Athletica recently debuted yoga pants with room for a sheathed knife, as well as any other items to round out your tactical-inspired athleisure ensemble.
From the Alexo website:
With nine pockets, these versatile high-rise quality leggings were designed to hold all your essentials that make you carry with confidence.
With yoga pants becoming ubiquitous outside of exercise rooms, it only makes sense that a company would design products for the concealed carry crowd. The Signature Pant, pictured above, was sold out at press time.
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