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'Get rid of it': Queensland school allows Sikh parent to carry ceremonial sword into grounds

29 August 2017 10:08 PM
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'Get rid of it': Queensland school allows Sikh parent to carry ceremonial sword into grounds

A Queensland school has allowed a parent to carry a Sikh sword through its gates despite concerns for student safety.

According to News Corp, the school bowed to religious sensitivities and allowed a man of Sikh faith to carry his kirpan, or ceremonial sword, onto school grounds.

The kirpan is one of five items, which symbolise duty to the Sikh faith.

The Education Department said it would be a “case-by-case basis” to allow the religious item to be worn around students.

However, it is illegal under Queensland’s Weapons Act of 1990 which states the kirpan cannot be worn on school grounds.

Radio 2GB presenter Alan Jones told Sunrise it was “a cultural surrender like the burqa” and “both of them should be banned”.

“I must say I thought the Punjabi Cultural Association made the most sense saying that if it is against the law it shouldn’t be allowed but we don’t know what the law is,” Mr Jones said.

But Punjabi Association of Queensland spokesman Avninder Gill told News Corp he was confused by legislation surrounding the blade, but said “it should be up to the school” to decide if the kirpan was allowed on school property.

“If it’s against the law, then I’m not sure what you should do,” he said.

Mr Jones said “to be fair to the principal”, they asked “whether or not” the blade should be allowed.

“The police said they said they thought it was OK to bring the thing on but this is only one incident we know about,” he said.

Mr Jones asked if the man in question was the only male Sikh carrying the sword in Australia.

“It’s like the burqa. Hey, it’s Australia. We don’t like this stuff. They are kids. Kids are potentially afraid of all this.

"Get rid of it, and if you don’t like it well I’m sure there’s a school somewhere, in some part of the world that you can go to but it may not be here.”

Herald Sun columnist Rita Panahi said while “cultural diversity and religious freedoms are important” so is students’ safety and the “rule of law”.

“It seems the Education Department or the principal can choose when and where to follow the law,” she said.

“The weapons act is quite clear, the kirpan should not be on school grounds under any circumstances.

Ms Panahi said she didn’t understand how “exemptions can be granted on a case-by-case basis”.

Mr Jones asked why the police gave the principal different advice to the weapon’s act.

For more 'Hot Topic' discussions, tune in to Sunrise from 5am on weekdays.


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