Rome, May 16: In Italy, Supreme Court has ruled against a Sikh migrant who wanted to carry a ceremonial knife in public. It said that migrants who choose to live in Italy must respect Italian laws prohibiting the carrying of weapons even though many Sikhs regard ceremonial knives as sacred.
The court acknowledged that diversity in a multi-ethnic society is important. But it ruled that public safety from weapons was of paramount importance and superseded an individual's rights.
The man had argued that his knife (or kirpan), as well as his turban, were symbols of his religion and wearing them was part of his religious duty. But the court in Rome ruled that migrants must ensure that their beliefs are legally compatible with host countries.
But the court ruled out the Sikh man’s plea warning that sharp and dangerous objects cannot be carried in and around Italy. "[While] the multi-ethnic society is a necessity, public safety is an asset to be protected," the court ruled.
The Sikh man in the case was appealing against another court's decision ordering him to pay a €2,000 fine because he had been caught leaving his home in Goito, Northern Italy, armed with a knife measuring nearly 20cm which is considered ‘dangerous’.