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Australian court lifts ban on Sikhs carrying kirpans in schools

The highest court in Queensland, Australia, overturns ban on Sikh students wearing kirpans on campus, deeming it “unconstitutional.” Kamaljit Kaur Atwal’s legal challenge led to the ruling, arguing that the ban discriminated against this important religious article in Sikhism, as reported by 9news.com.

Sikhs must wear a kirpan as part of their religious attire, following their code of conduct. The kirpan is one of the five essential religious symbols they always carry as an integral part of their faith.Sikh community angry as religious knives banned from NSW schools after  stabbing - ABC News

The Queensland Supreme Court declared the ban unconstitutional under the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA), according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Initially, the claim of discrimination was dismissed, but after an appeal, the Sikh faith achieved victory in the ruling.

According to Bill Potts from Potts Lawyers Queensland, the initial legislation deprived Sikhs of the ability to attend school and practice their religion freely. The overturning of the law is seen as a significant step forward, restoring freedom to those who follow the Sikh faith. Potts emphasized that this decision grants them the same freedoms as everyone else and ensures they are not subjected to discrimination by state laws.

The court’s ruling acknowledged that carrying a kirpan as a symbol of religious commitment typically aligns with a lawful purpose, specifically, religious observance.

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