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    Dec 2009

    Default Canada's Quebec province assembly bans 'kirpan'

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    Canada's French-speaking Quebec province's legislature has unanimously voted to ban the kirpan from assembly premises, weeks after four Sikhs were denied entry for a parliamentary hearing for refusing to surrender their ceremonial daggers.
    The National Assembly of Quebec voted 113-0 on Wednesday to adopt a motion tabled by the opposition Parti Quebecois, barring the kirpan from the legislative building, drawing criticism from the Sikh community. It supported the decision by security officers, who denied entry to four Sikhs who had come to the assembly last month for a parliamentary hearing during which they wanted to support a Muslim woman's religious right to wear a face covering or 'niqab'. Reacting to the development in the Quebec National Assembly, the World Sikh Organisation's Canada chapter expressed its disappointed.

    "The World Sikh Organisation of Canada is disappointed that the Quebec National Assembly has voted unanimously in favour of a PQ motion to support the decision to bar the kirpan. We're disappointed that the wearing of the kirpan, which is a human rights issue, has been politicised," it said in a statement.

    The vote represents a turn away from the values of tolerance and multiculturalism, said Balpreet Singh, WSO legal counsel. The four Sikhs, who were opposing the Bill 94 that bans the niqab in Quebec, had been last month invited to appear before a legislative committee debating the issue of reasonable accommodation of religious minorities. But the group never got through the metal detectors at the entrance of the National Assembly building as the head of security ruled the kirpans they carried were a potential weapon.
    ...being a human...



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