Sikhs permitted to wear ceremonial daggers to Olympic events Thursday, October 15, 2009 The Kirpan is a Sikh religious symbol comparable to the Christian cross. Initiated Sikh men will be permitted to wear ceremonial daggers less than 7.5 inches in length to Vancouver 2010 Winter Games venues, the RCMP's Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit announced Thursday. The dagger, called a kirpan, is one of the articles of faith that all observant Sikhs must wear. To be admitted to Olympic venues Sikhs wearing the kirpan must notify security personnel before being screened for admittance. The blade may be no longer than four inches and must be worn beneath the clothing, secured in a sheath. The kirpan must be worn with all the Sikh articles of faith. The RCMP sought advice about creating rules for wearing kirpans from the Sikh community through its community relations group, which includes members of many of the city's religious and ethnic groups. Research conducted by the RCMP's Olympic security unit suggested that violence involving kirpans is extremely rare and that allowing them into venues will not incur additional risk. "The new guidelines provide reasonable accommodation for religious freedoms as defined by Canadian laws and values, while clearly identifying the conditions under which the kirpan may be worn," according to a statement from V2010 ISU.