• Welcome to all New Sikh Philosophy Network Forums!
    Explore Sikh Sikhi Sikhism...
    Sign up Log in


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
USA: January 22, 2011. (PCP) The World Sikh Council – America Region (WSC-AR) appreciates and stands in solidarity with the efforts of Sikhs in Canada, led by the World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada, in refusing to enter the Quebec National Assembly on January 18, 2011 without their Kirpaans.

The WSC-AR supports the courageous stand taken by WSO Canada by not compromising the pledge of Amritdhari (formally initiated) Sikhs to bear the Kirpaan, and will continue to work with WSO Canada and other sister Sikh organizations at the international level.

Dr. Satpal Singh, Chairperson of WSC-AR said “We have to respect the sanctity of the Kirpaan as a religious requirement. We stand firmly with the Sikhs of Canada as they stand up for the right of Amritdhari Sikhs to bear the Kirpaan as a required religious article of the Sikh faith. Freedom of religion has to be balanced with the need for security.”

The WSC-AR had been concerned in the past that at events organized by some Sikh organizations at the White House and Capitol Hill in the US, Sikhs have been refused the right to bear their Kirpaan. WSC-AR calls upon all Sikh organizations of the world to abide by the religious requirement of wearing the Kirpaan in gatra when its formally-initiated representatives attend any meetings regardless of security arrangements. WSC-AR further calls upon Sikh organizations to also abstain from sending non-Amritdhari Sikh representatives to attend gatherings that exclude the Kirpaan.

“The position of the World Sikh Organization of Canada in respecting the sanctity of the Kirpaan should be an example for Sikhs across the world to not undermine the articles of the faith to have a cup of tea with politicians,” said Ms. Amarjit Kaur, Vice-Chairperson of WSC-AR.

The Kirpaan is one of the five articles of faith required of all formally initiated Sikhs. It is to be worn in a gatra (sash) across the chest. The Kirpaan (literally meaning ‘bringer of mercy’) represents the Sikh commitment to resist oppression and injustice, but only in a defensive posture and never to initiate confrontation.

In 2004 the then Chairperson of WSC-AR, was forced to decline an invitation to the White House when he was asked by staffers to remove his Kirpaan and hence compromise the practice of his faith as a pre-condition to attend a religious gathering. The National Council of Churches in the USA supported the position taken by WSC-AR at that time. In 2006, WSC-AR expressed solidarity with the Sikh Federation (UK) when its Sikh representatives refused to enter the European Union Parliament in Brussels, Belgium when asked to first remove their Kirpaans. Following this in 2008, WSC-AR representatives were unable to meet with Pope Benedict for an interreligious meeting when the US Secret Service again refused to accommodate the Sikh requirement of the Kirpaan. Recently in October 2010, a representative of WSC-AR attended an interreligious meeting at the White House with his Kirpaan intact after inspection by the US Secret Service. This was the first time in recent history that a formally-initiated Sikh was able to attend a meeting with US government officials at the White House bearing the religious requirement of the Kirpaan.

Sikh representatives of WSO Canada were excluded from the Quebec National Assembly on January 18, 2011 and prevented from speaking in favor of religious accommodation for veiled Muslim women before the Committee on Institutions because the Sikh representatives were bearing the Kirpaan as a religious requirement of the Sikh Faith.

The World Sikh Organization (WSO) of Canada is a non-profit organization with a mandate to promote and protect the interests of the Sikh Diaspora, as well as to promote and advocate for the protection of human rights for all individuals, irrespective of race, religion, gender, ethnicity, and social and economic status.

The World Sikh Council - America Region (WSC-AR) is a representative and elected body of Sikh Gurdwaras and institutions in the United States. Its members include 45 Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) and other Sikh institutions, across the nation. WSC-AR works to promote Sikh interests at the national and international level focusing on issues of advocacy, education, and well-being of humankind.




📌 Follow the Official Sikh Philosophy Network Channel on WhatsApp: