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(Chron)   Woman fired for taking blunt knife to IRS workplace, Sikhs compensation   (chron.com) divider line
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6159 clicks; posted to Main » on 09 Jan 2009 at 9:22 AM (10 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-01-09 08:49:43 AM  
We've been dealing with these issues in Canada for years. Sikh cops wearing turbans instead of hats; students taking ceremonial knifes to class, etc.

Usually the "religious freedom" argument wins out because people realize that if you ban these types of religious symbols you'll have to ban all religious symbols. It's a tough cross to bear.
 
2009-01-09 09:28:54 AM  
Im fine with that, Ban everything.
 
2009-01-09 09:29:00 AM  

DslainteC: We've been dealing with these issues in Canada for years. Sikh cops wearing turbans instead of hats; students taking ceremonial knifes to class, etc.

Usually the "religious freedom" argument wins out because people realize that if you ban these types of religious symbols you'll have to ban all religious symbols. It's a tough cross to bear.


I say we bring back segregation but for every religion. And everyone will be happy...or not
 
2009-01-09 09:29:05 AM  

DslainteC: We've been dealing with these issues in Canada for years. Sikh cops wearing turbans instead of hats; students taking ceremonial knifes to class, etc.

Usually the "religious freedom" argument wins out because people realize that if you ban these types of religious symbols you'll have to ban all religious symbols. It's a tough cross to bear.


o.O - I see what you did there :P
 
2009-01-09 09:29:39 AM  
i215.photobucket.comView Full Size
 
2009-01-09 09:29:50 AM  

DslainteC: We've been dealing with these issues in Canada for years. Sikh cops wearing turbans instead of hats; students taking ceremonial knifes to class, etc.

Usually the "religious freedom" argument wins out because people realize that if you ban these types of religious symbols you'll have to ban all religious symbols. It's a tough cross to bear.


I have a lot of friends who grew up going to Toronto schools, and this was a major issue - especially in Brampton (Russell Peters might agree).
 
2009-01-09 09:29:52 AM  
FTA: "It's a symbolic religious article that Sikhs have carried for centuries. It's like a cross. It's like a Star of David. It's like any other religious ornament."

I would be more inclined to agree if the Star of David was actually a Ninja Star of David and the Christian cross was actually a Christian crossbow. Hey, the crossbow is cross shaped, right? Hmmmmm...I wonder if I can get away with it.

Still, if the blade is duller than a butter knife, I don't see the harm of wearing it. What is she going to do? Spread someone to death?
 
2009-01-09 09:30:10 AM  
Touché
 
2009-01-09 09:30:40 AM  
...remind the bearer of a Sikh's duty to protect the weak and promote justice.

Seems like a damned fine idea.

Christians wear crosses to remind others that Jesus Died for them.

Sihks wear knives to remind themselves to protect the weak.

/Learned something new.
//Can I waear a pasta bowl?
 
2009-01-09 09:30:47 AM  

DslainteC: We've been dealing with these issues in Canada for years. Sikh cops wearing turbans instead of hats; students taking ceremonial knifes to class, etc.

Usually the "religious freedom" argument wins out because people realize that if you ban these types of religious symbols you'll have to ban all religious symbols. It's a tough cross to bear.


Based on this logic then people that practice Peyotism or Rastafarianism should have no problem carrying around and using the significant symbols of their religions. Is Canada really okay with that?
 
2009-01-09 09:31:43 AM  
It could have been worse; you can negotiate with a terrorist.


/don't ask me why Ruth Gordon is carrying a rocket launcher.
 
2009-01-09 09:32:28 AM  
I would like to say - with no irony, malice, snark, or sarcasm - that TFA was rather even-handed and informative.

I knew about the turban, uncut hair, and the Kirpan, but don't recall ever seeing the list of five required items.
 
2009-01-09 09:32:37 AM  
I'm starting a religion the requires you to carry a Katana at all times.

Anyone want to join?
 
2009-01-09 09:33:39 AM  
My observation (anecdotal only) is that Sikhs have a pretty low percentage of crazies compared to most other religions.
 
2009-01-09 09:33:47 AM  
I was with her until I read this part

On April 20, Tagore requested through counsel that she be allowed to carry it in the workplace. Her supervisor told her to leave, the lawsuit states, and he said the Kirpan violated agency rules of conduct and federal law prohibiting people from possessing knives with blades of 2.5 inches or longer in federal facilities.

Kaur, of the Sikh Coalition, said there's no prescribed length for a Kirpan.

"It's really up to an individual and their understanding of the faith," she said.

The IRS allowed Tagore to work from home for nine months, but in January 2006 an IRS official ordered her to modify her Kirpan and report to the Leland Building by the end of the month, the lawsuit states.

When Tagore showed up with the same Kirpan, she was barred from the building. She was fired in July 2006.


She could have gotten a shorter Kirpan; her religious beliefs do not forbid this. Looks like she's trying to make a point where there's none to be made.
 
2009-01-09 09:34:09 AM  
Well I guess I can never work for the IRS (or as I call them Thieves Inc.) because I carry a pocket knife the a clip on it.

Mine too is religious, because you never know when God may ask me to perform a sacrifice, heck axe Abraham.
 
2009-01-09 09:34:19 AM  
My religion requires I wear this every day:

remtek.comView Full Size


Fortunately it isn't forbidden at work.
 
2009-01-09 09:35:04 AM  

obzerver


I'm starting a religion the requires you to carry a Katana at all times.

Anyone want to join?


No, thanks. It would be darned inconvenient to lug a motorcycle around all day. (Good exercise, though)
 
2009-01-09 09:35:22 AM  

mekki: What is she going to do? Spread someone to death?


Let's leave Paris Hilton out of this, mmmkay?
 
2009-01-09 09:36:36 AM  

AnthraxRipple: My religion requires I wear this every day:

Fortunately it isn't forbidden at work.


What religion would that be?
 
2009-01-09 09:37:05 AM  

Englebert Slaptyback: obzerver

I'm starting a religion the requires you to carry a Katana at all times.

Anyone want to join?


No, thanks. It would be darned inconvenient to lug a motorcycle around all day. (Good exercise, though)


How about a kopis?
 
2009-01-09 09:38:58 AM  
farm4.static.flickr.comView Full Size


Shakespeare's Monkey
...

don't ask me why Ruth Gordon is carrying a rocket launcher.


She didn't make it past preview, who knew?
 
2009-01-09 09:39:16 AM  
agency rules of conduct and federal law prohibiting people from possessing knives with blades of 2.5 inches or longer in federal facilities.

Kaur, of the Sikh Coalition, said there's no prescribed length for a Kirpan.


Sigh.

So in other words, "You're not giving me religious freedom. Oh, I can just wear a short one? No, screw the rules, you have to let me do whatever I want."
 
2009-01-09 09:39:24 AM  
If there is no prescribed length for a Kirpan and it is ceremonial, couldnt it be small enough to wear on a neclace or something. Hate to say this but it sounds like the IRS was being reasonable for once.

/It's a heavy turban to bear.
 
2009-01-09 09:39:32 AM  

tanman1975: She could have gotten a shorter Kirpan; her religious beliefs do not forbid this. Looks like she's trying to make a point where there's none to be made.


I agree that that would probably have been the best (or at least easiest) solution, but the article also made the point that there were letter openers and scissors in the building that were longer and probably sharper than the kirpan.
 
2009-01-09 09:39:41 AM  
This is just mind-numbingly idiotic on behalf of the IRS supervisor. Sure there's a policy against having a knife with a blade longer than 2.5". But if it's a blunt piece of metal, it's neither a "knife" nor a "blade". It's the simplest thing in the world to simply define the ceremonial Kirpan as "not a knife", in which case it's OK. Honestly, this is terrible management.
 
2009-01-09 09:40:25 AM  
Per my 10 year old..... "it's not a knife, it's a butterspoon."

I can't think of a perfect defense against the insanity of bringing plastic knives and butterknives to work to spread PB&J. Just call those things butterspoons and we can move on.
 
2009-01-09 09:41:06 AM  

farm machine: Based on this logic then people that practice Peyotism or Rastafarianism should have no problem carrying around and using the significant symbols of their religions. Is Canada really okay with that?


I know of one church in Toronto that uses cannabis as a sacrament. They got busted awhile ago, not because of using the weed, but because some people were selling it out of the church. The cops seem to turn a blind eye to people who use it quietly; just don't push it on others.

I think a lot of the religious freedom rules in this country are based on the "golden rule"; the people with the most gold make the rules. That is to say, if your religion is large enough with plenty of vocal supporters, you get your way. If you're tiny (like the religions you mentioned) you'll have a tougher time with things.
 
2009-01-09 09:42:29 AM  
Considering all the sharp stuff to be found in the average office, I don't think a Sikh knife is something to get very worked up about. However, tanman1975 spotted the problem here. Apparently a Kirpan can be almost any size, especially because its ceremonial.

While I can sympathize with wanting a symbolic knife that doesn't look like it came from a Clue set, she should have gotten something smaller for office use. That doesn't mean I don't think the IRS is being kinda douchey about it though.

Reasonable accommodation can be a biatch sometimes.
 
2009-01-09 09:43:27 AM  
The blunt blade, worn sheathed, is intended to remind the bearer of a Sikh's duty to protect the weak and promote justice.

Justice? Protecting the weak? Clearly, those concepts have no place at the IRS.
 
2009-01-09 09:43:36 AM  
I'm guessing they'll settle with a somewhat modest sum of cash changing hands and her possibly getting her job back.
 
2009-01-09 09:44:48 AM  
*looks at picture of knife in question*

That doesn't seem any larger or more dangerous than a pocket knife. Why is this even an issue?
 
2009-01-09 09:45:08 AM  
The article states:

"Kirpan, an article of faith that initiated Sikhs are required to wear at all times"

However, http://www.sikhnet.com/oldsikhnet/SikhEducation/Airline%20Security.pdf says

"Sikhs are very concerned with safety and security and are willing to check in their kirpans before traveling"

So are there no exceptions or are there exceptions to accommodate security requirements.
 
2009-01-09 09:46:01 AM  

bwogle: If there is no prescribed length for a Kirpan and it is ceremonial, couldnt it be small enough to wear on a neclace or something. Hate to say this but it sounds like the IRS was being reasonable for once.

/It's a heavy turban to bear.


One of the instructors where I used to work wore a very small knife (about 1 1/2") clipped to his turban. I guess so he would not forget it.

/I can't recall for sure but I don't believe he killed very many people with it.
 
2009-01-09 09:46:08 AM  

Prank Call of Cthulhu: The blunt blade, worn sheathed, is intended to remind the bearer of a Sikh's duty to protect the weak and promote justice.

Justice? Protecting the weak? Clearly, those concepts have no place at the IRS.


Ah. Now I understand.
 
2009-01-09 09:46:23 AM  
from wiki.
These 5 items of faith are: Kesh, Kanga, Kara, Kirpan and Kacha which translate into: uncut hair, a small comb, a band of steel, a small sword, a pair of under shorts. Most male Sikhs will also wear a Turban over their uncut hair. The most "visible" items of faith are a turban and an untrimmed beard.

wtf?
 
2009-01-09 09:47:44 AM  

cefm: This is just mind-numbingly idiotic on behalf of the IRS supervisor. Sure there's a policy against having a knife with a blade longer than 2.5". But if it's a blunt piece of metal, it's neither a "knife" nor a "blade". It's the simplest thing in the world to simply define the ceremonial Kirpan as "not a knife", in which case it's OK. Honestly, this is terrible management.


Don't forget that this is worn on her hip, meant to be seen as a weapon.

Not everyone who sees it is going to know that it is not sharp, or that it is for ceremonial purposes.

With your logic, I should be able to wear a gun to work. You know, as long as I tell you it's loaded with blanks. Or maybe a non-functional replica.
 
2009-01-09 09:48:17 AM  

mekki: AnthraxRipple: My religion requires I wear this every day:

Fortunately it isn't forbidden at work.

What religion would that be?


First Holy Church of St. Gaston.
 
2009-01-09 09:48:42 AM  

MassD


I'm guessing they'll settle with a somewhat modest sum of cash changing hands and her possibly getting her job back.


According to TFA, she has already taken a job at a tax consulting firm where she can carry the Kirpan unimpeded. It doesn't sound like she wants the job back.
 
2009-01-09 09:50:02 AM  

mekki: What is she going to do? Spread someone to death?


Death by Snoo Snoo?
 
2009-01-09 09:50:05 AM  
I wonder how big of a payday she is seeking to secure her religous freedom.

/ban all relgious symbols from the workplace for all I care
 
2009-01-09 09:50:17 AM  
I'd Kawaljeet it.
 
2009-01-09 09:50:58 AM  
Wait. She works for the IRS, yet her little knife is supposed to remind her to "promote justice"? Ha! She's doing it all wrong.
 
2009-01-09 09:54:20 AM  
We need a Texas tag real bad.
 
2009-01-09 09:54:32 AM  

dittybopper


How about a kopis?


It looks like a kukri and a Roman short sword had a kid.
 
2009-01-09 09:54:38 AM  

DslainteC: We've been dealing with these issues in Canada for years. Sikh cops wearing turbans instead of hats; students taking ceremonial knifes to class, etc.

Usually the "religious freedom" argument wins out because people realize that if you ban these types of religious symbols you'll have to ban all religious symbols. It's a tough cross to bear.


i66.photobucket.comView Full Size

i66.photobucket.comView Full Size
 
2009-01-09 09:54:47 AM  
Huh. I thought only the men in that religion carried knives... The only time women should carry knives is when they're in the kitchen making a sandwich for their man...

/ducks
 
2009-01-09 09:55:51 AM  

Typhoid: cefm: This is just mind-numbingly idiotic on behalf of the IRS supervisor. Sure there's a policy against having a knife with a blade longer than 2.5". But if it's a blunt piece of metal, it's neither a "knife" nor a "blade". It's the simplest thing in the world to simply define the ceremonial Kirpan as "not a knife", in which case it's OK. Honestly, this is terrible management.

Don't forget that this is worn on her hip, meant to be seen as a weapon.

Not everyone who sees it is going to know that it is not sharp, or that it is for ceremonial purposes.

With your logic, I should be able to wear a gun to work. You know, as long as I tell you it's loaded with blanks. Or maybe a non-functional replica.


Read the article. It is worn unseen underneath her clothes.
 
2009-01-09 09:56:24 AM  
It seems we have lost the skill of compromise. The school considers the knife a threat. The woman considers it a religious item.
Why not allow her to wear it but alter the dagger by inserting a screw through the scabbarad and into the knife. Therefore making it impossibnle to draw it out. She can then carry her knife and it will be rendered harmless...Case closed!
 
2009-01-09 09:58:38 AM  
I'm all for a large degree of religious freedom, but I don't think anyone should be exempt from the law that the rest of us have to follow merely because of their religion. If a Sikh is allowed to bring a knife to work or school, then so should a Muslim, a Christian, a Jew, a Satanist, or an atheist.

Likewise, I don't think members of certain religions should be allowed to use substances (peyote, cannabis, etc.) that would get the rest of us arrested.
 
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