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Kirpan posters come to Sikhs' help in US
by newsmaker on Thursday, May 03, 2007 (CST)

WASHINGTON: With a view to assuage the feelings of Sikh Americans who have been involved in rows with security personnel over possession of kirpans, the US department of homeland security and a Sikh outfit have reached an agreement to display posters of various ceremonial daggers at checkpoints across the country to assist screeners.

Under the agreement reached between the department and the Sikh American Legal Defence and Education Fund, posters will be distributed to federal facilities, showing photos of different kirpans ranging from a symbolic necklace some women wear to the more common three-to-six-inch daggers, as well as full-on swords , Washington Post reported.

In the last two years, Sikhs have been arrested, threatened with arrest or harassed in disputes with guards over kirpan. The poster tells security workers how to navigate the situation: "Respectfully ask if a Sikh is carrying a kirpan. If so, request to inspect the kirpan," it reads.

"If a kirpan must be confiscated, explain the reason(s) and handle the kirpan with respect and care." For Sikh Americans, this is a huge and significant accomplishment," Manjit Singh, co-founder and chairman of Legal Fund, told Post. The poster also tells screeners to "show respect to all variations of faith."

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