Friday, March 7, 2008

Ceremonial Dagger stands between Sikhs and the Pope

Symbol could stand between Sikhs and the pope: Secret Service calls the Kirpan a threat to leaders' security, by Manya A. Brachear. Chicago Tribune March 7, 2008:

Sikhs won't be allowed to join other interfaith leaders in a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI unless they remove a central article of their faith called a Kirpan. . . .

Sikhs wear a small sword called a Kirpan, which symbolizes the Sikh commitment to resist oppression and injustice. The knife is one of the five Ks, symbols of Sikh ideals including honesty, equality, fidelity, meditating on God and never bowing to tyranny.

But the U.S. Secret Service considers the article of faith a danger and mandated that Sikhs attending the meeting must remove it.

Anahat Kaur, secretary general of the Ohio-based World Sikh Council-America Region, said the 10 to 15 faithful who planned to attend the meeting "felt blindsided" by the agency's decision. She said Sikhs wore their Kirpans in 1999 when they met with Pope John Paul II in the Vatican, so they didn't expect a problem.