Monday, February 08, 2010

Sikh judge demands religious exemptions for Sikhs

Sir Mota Singh QC was Britain’s first Asian judge. He is now retired, but is insistent that Sikhs should be permitted to wear their ceremonial daggers – kirpans – as they go about their normal daily business.

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...


Blogger Gnostic said...

Well our law-makers seem to like kissing Muslim cheek. Let's see how they like the flavour of Sikh cheek.

More like bloody cheek if you ask me...

8 February 2010 at 12:10  
Blogger John R said...

"why should space not be found for Christians to be exempt from the rafts of legislation which are threatening centuries of religious tolerance?"

Because a Christian won't behead you, blow you up or kidnap you on the pretext of being insulted beyond all tolerance at the slightest hint or a possibility of the chance of a slight critcism of anything he thinks he wants to do.

Christians are weak and helpless. Turning the other cheek just means you get slapped twice.

8 February 2010 at 12:16  
Blogger I am Stan said...

Your Grace,

It used to be the right of all citizens to bear arms,lets demand that right now,but not just for Sikhs but everyone.

Good luck Sir Singh!

8 February 2010 at 12:22  
Anonymous Osama bin Laden said...

I demand to be exempted from the laws controlling explosives, as their possession is an essential part of my religion.

8 February 2010 at 12:30  
Blogger Frugal Dougal said...

I don't blame the man - he, and the Sikh community - hae seen the Establishment kowtow to Islam again and again, and now they want to be on an equal footing. It will be interesting to see the response of Islamofascists.

8 February 2010 at 12:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone should be equal under the law. Proclaiming a belief in the supernatural should not grant special rights to the superstitious fools among us.

8 February 2010 at 12:54  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

You may remember that Indira Ghandi was assassinated by two of her trusted Sikh bodyguard. She had ordered the Indian army to remove Sikh militants who had occupied the Golden Temple. Many were killed including their leader Bhindranwale. The assassination was a revenge attack.

In this country the Sikhs have been law abiding and contributing to the nation. But the idea of anyone carrying knives around in school is unacceptable.

The idea of allowing anybody however law abiding carrying weapons into parliament or in an audience with the Queen is totally crazy.

8 February 2010 at 13:00  
Blogger John.D said...

Catholics cannot discriminate in their adoption agencies but Sikhs are to be the only people walking around with 8inch daggers??????

What the hell is going on?

8 February 2010 at 13:08  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

'...And he reasons that Sikh’s should be exempt from the legislation which applies to everyone else...'

Oh dear, oh dear! Do please try, Cranny, to be a little more careful with your proof-reading and your use of the apostrophe. You're slipping back into your greengrocer tendency.

8 February 2010 at 13:08  
Anonymous Pat said...

I'm with Stan.
It's not that long since schoolboys habitually carried penknives and Boy scouts carried sheath knives- without much ill effect that I'm aware of.
Anyone wanting a knife for malicious purposes can easily obtain or even make one- focusing on weapons merely disadvantages the law abiding.
It would be better to focus on malicious people.

8 February 2010 at 13:10  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


You can always tell when His Grace is pressed for time.

And there's nothing wrong with being a greengrocer.

8 February 2010 at 13:11  
Anonymous Wibble said...

Actually there is an easy way to tell Sikhs and Muslims apart: Sikhs' moustaches curl upwards, Muslims' don't

8 February 2010 at 13:13  
Blogger John.D said...

All this persecution is our lot. I don't know about you guys but I am finding it difficult to rejoice. In fact it is utterly depressing. Can anyone see any light at the end of this dark tunnel? If so please elaborate, because I am praying for asteroid and meteorite strikes.

8 February 2010 at 13:41  
Anonymous richard said...

Sorry but you're completely wrong on this one, your Grace. The Sikhs have a sense of pride, which we seem to have largely lost.
re: armed Sikhs near the queen, the Sikhs serve in HM forces (and have done so with distinction). If presumably they could form an honour guard with rifles, whether they carry their small symbolic dagger is neither here not there.
The Sikh knows that carrying a dagger is not only a religious symbol, it means he stands forth as an adult, responsible human being. Us poor Brits aren't allowed pointy things in public, and don't mind being told what to do.
Even the boy scouts aren't allowed knives nowadays, never mind the rest of us. But then, slaves were never allowed to carry arms. The state doesn't like seeing men who care about their individual responsibility, does it?

8 February 2010 at 13:43  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

I am pleased to hear that Cranmer agrees that no religious belief should be above the law.

8 February 2010 at 13:43  
Blogger John.D said...

The ultimate law is God's law, and if it were to be obeyed then there would be no need of Graham Davis' law.

8 February 2010 at 14:04  
Blogger John.D said...

Incidently, where do you suppose our law comes from?

8 February 2010 at 14:09  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

John D

The Sikhs claim that their god’s law is superior to that of common law; it seems that you think the same should apply to your god. So many gods, so many laws, how is a chap to choose?

8 February 2010 at 14:12  
Blogger Ian said...

I agree with Richards analysis here. Sikhs as mentioned above have been law abiding and functional members of society.

This is about using Islam (of which I am no fan) to bring us all down to a lowest common denominator. Socialism in all but name.

Society should be about empowering individuals not using excuses to disenfranchise them, reducing us all to childrenreldectu. I think the religious angle here is largely red-herring.

Its about divide and conquer. Everyone knows what the problem is and it doesnt involve sikhs.

UGOC as mentioned above, the Queen is often in the presence of heavily armed individuals, sometimes Sikhs, so I dont think this angle holds water here.

8 February 2010 at 14:15  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

It is certainly arguable that a Sikh is not required to carry a sword and instead could wear an item that symbolically represents the sword.

We must not forget what it states in the English Bill of Rights 1689: An Act Declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subject and Settling the Succession of the Crown.

One particular provision states:

‘That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;…’

What if the law abiding subjects at the scene of the Dunblane massacre had been armed (13 years ago)? Might not there have been less casualties?

The subjects of the Crown, particularly, in the 20th Century have been progressively disarmed by the State. An armed citizenry impels the State to think twice before it imposes oppressive measures: Sarkozy cannot stand the idea of Frenchmen being armed.

The Dunblane massacre reveals that our American cousins are right: if you remove arms from the law-abiding citizen then only the outlaws are armed as the daily murder rate on the streets of our capital city shows.

8 February 2010 at 14:21  
Anonymous Alec W. said...

I am left a little unclear as to your wishes here. Do you want that every religion be allowed the latitude to do as they will; sikhs to carry weapons, christians to discriminate against gays, muslims to relegate females to 2nd class citizens etc.?

Or am I right in hoping that you are advocating that all of the people of our sceptred isle follow the same set of laws regardless of personal opinion or belief?

Which is it your Grace? Equal treatment for all, or equal amounts of exemption for all of faith...

8 February 2010 at 14:24  
Anonymous Alec W. said...

Quick question D. Singh:

How do our murder rates compare with those of our more-free cousins across the pond?

If 'the Dunblane massacre reveals that our American cousins are right', then what do these reveal? Surely you want to reconsider that remark a tad...

8 February 2010 at 14:39  
Blogger John.D said...

English law based upon Christian principles from the Christian faith which has shaped our law for hundreds of years. Why is this suddenly no longer the case? It is the Multi cultural folly that has been forced upon us that is causing chaos.

Sikh law, Muslim law etc is fine, everything has its own time and place. Here we have our own law framed from Christian principles and largely shaped by the Christian constitution. Why is this so difficult to grasp? Is there some new drug they are putting in the water supply or something?

8 February 2010 at 14:39  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

John D

How reassuring it is to have these christian principles as the basis of our common law

"When a man strikes his slave with a rod so hard that the slave dies, he shall be punished. If the slave survives for a day or two, he is not to be punished"
Exodus 21:20-21
No child of an incestuous union may be admitted into the community of the Lord, nor any descendent of his even to the tenth generation.”
Deuteronomy 23:3
“A priest's daughter who loses her honour by committing fornication and thereby dishonours her father also, shall be burned to death.”
Leviticus 21:9
"If a man lies with a male as with a women, both of them shall be put to death for their abominable deed; they have forfeited their lives."
Leviticus 20:13

8 February 2010 at 15:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why don’t you conduct your own research on the pro and contra arguments instead of plagiarising the brilliant remarks, observations, comments and conclusions of these posters for your college essays?

I warn you! Your college lecturers have their beady eyes on you.

Filthy plagiarist.

8 February 2010 at 15:19  
Blogger John.D said...

The key word was "shaped". And over 'hundreds of years'. What we are seeing now is a new shape, over hundreds of hours, and it is warped all out of shape.

I don't recall any of those Old Testament scriptures being incorporated into our common law.

You are being hysterical.

8 February 2010 at 15:29  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

This strikes me as a little "me too".

I have a lot of respect for the Sikh community in general and HH Mota Singh QC in particular, but let us remember that the Sikh's have been going to school in Britain for over 40 years and I am not aware of there being any great offence in either sense of the word. Clearly a sensible accommodation is already in place.

A friend is a former Headmaster and I shall try and ascertain the nature of his compromise and let you know. I really don't see it as a problem in reality.

8 February 2010 at 15:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What do Sikhs do when they wan't to fly somewhere?
It's a serious question.

8 February 2010 at 15:40  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Mr. Davis will, and should, skip this post. It's about part of the evolution of the British law/Law tradition that he's intents on demolishing. In any case, it's beneath the contempt of his anti-erudition.

But my translation's an extract from 'Sermo Lupi ad Anglos,' of circa 1014. He wrote some 400 years after our first laws were committed to writing in English, under the aegis of the developers of English literacy: the Church. This was 1000 or so years after the OT was first inscribed.

Wulfstan, AB of York (et al), deplored the corruption of Law by law. As a result, he said, the pagans of his day were ravaging the country---i.e. backsliding rulers (lords against the Lord), oppressed and demoralized the people. And Vikings raided unremittingly, and with impunity:

"But what I say is true: there is need for that atonement because the dues of God have diminished too long in every region within this land, and the laws of the people have worsened all too greatly, and sanctuaries are too widely violated, and the houses of God too cleanly robbed of all tithes and stripped within of all that is seemly, ... too many are impoverished and completely humiliated, and poor men are sorely deceived and cruelly defrauded, and ... given up to the power of foreigners; .... and the rights of freemen are taken away and the rights of slaves restricted and the rights to alms diminished and, in short, the Laws of God are hated and his doctrines rejected; and therefore we all are often subject to disgrace, through the anger of God, let him perceive it who can; and this calamity will become common to all this nation, although one may not think so, unless God delivers [us].]"

I've cut out a couple of things about widows being coerced into marriage; and children being sold into slavery overseas: they don't apply nowadays -- not yet anyway.

What was that about 'the more things change...'?

8 February 2010 at 16:01  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

John D
“I don't recall any of those Old Testament scriptures being incorporated into our common law.”

Phew that’s a relief

No Nonny
Your knowledge of history is impressive, why do you not put it to better use rather than attempting to justify such an absurd pick and mix proposition. I’m with Dawkins on this one, at least the fundamentalists are at consistent, they believe the literal truth of whatever their holy book says rather than slithering around trying to evade some of the most depraved injunctions ever uttered by man (or god).

8 February 2010 at 16:22  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Mr. Davis - you never heard of the New Law, then.

Or of the importance of the spirit of the law, rather than slavish interpretation of its letter.

Or of the genetic effects of inbreeding, let alone the psychological effects of child abuse.

Or of Christ's teaching about the stoning of an adulteress.

[Dear Lord and Father, please hear my petition that you liberate the crippled mind and soul of this child you have sent into our midst. You have blessed his fragile understanding with the advantages of the material world; I pray that you now help him to perceive how you manifest yourself through your works. May you bless and keep him --- and all who praise you here. Amen]

8 February 2010 at 16:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'What do Sikhs do when they wan't to fly somewhere?
It's a serious question.'

They do what they did in the famous Dambusters raid.

8 February 2010 at 16:47  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Mr. Davis - Pick and mix? Absurd?
Wulfstan and the development of English freedom ... and subsequent Common Law ... depraved?

As usual, you have no idea what you're talking about.

Your reading comprehension isn't too hot either: I made it clear that I wasn't talking to you. Be please to know that none of my future posts will address you either --

8 February 2010 at 16:58  
Anonymous no nonny said...


tempus fugit.

8 February 2010 at 17:00  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

No Nonny

“Mr. Davis - you never heard of the New Law, then.”

Please enlighten me

8 February 2010 at 17:00  
Anonymous Graham Davis said...

No Nonny

“Your reading comprehension isn't too hot either: I made it clear that I wasn't talking to you. Be please to know that none of my future posts will address you either –“

I should stop throwing your toys out of the playpen or you will have no-one left to play with!


8 February 2010 at 17:05  
Anonymous len said...

In the present climate of knife crime and what seems like almost daily if not weekly stabbings this demand for sikh schoolboys to carry knives verges on lunacy.

8 February 2010 at 23:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe there is a blessing in disguise after all. With everyone is on their heel, afraid of an Islamist insurgencies, shying away would be killers and minimizing another massacre in planning by the unglamorous but real would be terror.

9 February 2010 at 02:16  
Anonymous Alec W. said...

D. Singh:

I see what you're saying about research; I looked at a few more of your posts on some other strands & realised my mistake. I can only offer up my apologies.

Being new to the site I thought that you were a genuine poster trying to put across your honest opinion, and my use of rhetoric was to highlight your lack of consideration for the actual facts.

Anyway, keep it up, it's nice to see satire's not dead.

9 February 2010 at 05:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr AlecW

I know that I shall meet my fate
Somewhere among the clouds above;
Those that I fight I do not hate,
Those that I guard I do not love;
My country is Kiltartan Cross,
My countrymen Kiltartan's poor,
No likely end could bring them loss
Or leave them happier than before.
Nor law, nor duty bade me fight,
Nor public men, nor cheering crowds,
A lonely impulse of delight
Drove to this tumult in the clouds;
I balanced all, brought all to mind,
The years to come seemed waste of breath,
A waste of breath the years behind
In balance with this life, this death.

W. B. Yeats, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death

9 February 2010 at 08:07  
Anonymous richard said...

as mr Singh says, the 1689 bill of rights asserts the right of Englishmen to carry arms. The Englisman has given up his right and what's worse has been conditioned into deriding those who aren't as easily cowed.
Under Common Law a man could carry arms, as by doing so hasn't caused harm or loss.
Schoolboys all had knives in my day, it wasn't a problem. We didn't carry them as weapons, and that's the point because neither does the Sikh.

9 February 2010 at 10:59  
Anonymous Tanfield said...

What happens if a Sikh wishes to fly in an aircraft? They have to go through the security checks. These would show up their daggers. What happens then?

9 February 2010 at 19:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Sikh can only get to heaven if he is pulled up by his hair. Hence the turban.

9 February 2010 at 19:39  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What happens to bald Sikhs?

9 February 2010 at 19:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a mystery.

9 February 2010 at 19:41  
Blogger adrian said...

You mean I can be arrested and put in trial for carrying a dagger in a public place in front of a Judge that is carrying a dagger ?

Marxists are Bonkers aren't they, I love it when they paint themselves into corners.

10 February 2010 at 03:03  
Anonymous PaganPride said...

I am absolutely delighted with our Sikh ex-judge - because when the police insist on arresting me because I carry an athame (a symbol of MY religion and a knife for those not in the know) - I will be able to quote him verbatim.

In fact I am printing that out, laminating it for future use.

However, I have a feeling that the intellectually challenged judge really means on he and his kind should carry knives - for the rest of us - the law is supreme.

OT -There's an awful lot of pseudo intellectuals here who claim erudition but demonstrate fanatical determination never to open their minds to another point of view.

I suggest they return to the Hawkins' temple of athesism and secularity where they can worship a the feet of the master and participate in their religions rites.

10 February 2010 at 04:28  
Anonymous Shug Niggurath said...

Perhaps a more sensible rule would be to allow the use of (yes perhaps blunted) ceremonial knives, swords or whatever in the context of religious or cultural practice ie. Scotsmen being allowed to don the Skean Duh on their wedding day, in much the same way that Sikhs currently have an honour guard with swords at wedding?

Like most things, all I see here is someone asking to be allowed to be treated like an adult as opposed to making us all criminals.

13 February 2010 at 01:23  
Blogger Oswin said...

Surely it is my historical right to wear a white tabard upon which, in red, resides a cross? May I also carry my morning-star mace, my sword, dagger and lance? Might I not scatter caltrops before me to hinder mine enemies? Failing that, how about letting me pile faggots at the feet of heretics and Can I then sell a few 'indulgencies' to ensure the ever-lasting-salvation of the gullible? Hell, I'm sure there's a precident somewhwere!

14 February 2010 at 16:23  

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