Sikh judge demands religious exemptions for Sikhs
His demand is for Sikh schoolboys to be permitted to carry knives into school, for Sikh MPs to carry knives into Parliament, and for any Sikh guest of Her Majesty the Queen to carry knives into Buckingham Palace.
Sir Mota says: "I wear my kirpan and I've always worn it for the last 35 to 40 years, even when I was sitting in court or visiting public buildings, including Buckingham Palace."
And he reasons that Sikhs should be exempt from the legislation which applies to everyone else because ‘there has been no reported case, certainly none that I know of, of a Sikh using a knife in order to cause injury’.
As far as Cranmer knows, there has been no reported case of a Quaker using a knife in order to cause injury either, yet they must still comply with the law.
What is interesting to observe in this story is the Islamifiction of Sikhism. Unlike Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Sikhs have no ‘book of law’, as such: the Guru Granth Sahib is a book of devotional writings intended for worship. Yet Sir Mota insists that the kirpan is ‘a little more than ceremonial. It's a requirement of the religion’.
It is nothing of the sort. The Five Ks do not equate with the Five Pillars of Islam. There is no ‘requirement’ that is set down by Waheguru and dictated verbatim to Guru Gobind Singh: the practice is traditional and cultural. Those Sikhs who do not wear the Five Ks are no less Sikh than those who do, though their co-religionists may not agree with such an assertion. Historically, Sikhs adopted practices which permitted them to be distinguished from Muslims: the kirpan was symbolic of their preparedness to die for their faith. But in the UK, their lives are not threatened and they are free to practise their religion.
Yet it occurs to Cranmer that if Sikhs carrying a kirpan are exempt from prosecution under the Offensive Weapons Act, why should space not be found for Christians to be exempt from the rafts of legislation which are threatening centuries of religious tolerance?
And, moreover, if Sikhs are to be exempt from carrying knives, why might a few extremist Muslims of Asian extraction not pretend to be Sikh? Some are already being groomed.
After all, there is no easy way of telling the difference...