AMC Bay Street stands by ejection of Sikh man for religious “Weapon”

Published On June 27, 2013 | By Rob Arias | Crime & Public Safety, News & Commentary

In a story that is making national headlines and being billed as an issue of religious freedom, AMC is not relenting on what it is calling a violation of its zero tolerance policy toward weapons. The part of the story that seems to be debated is whether Sacramento area resident Manjot Singh’s Kirpan was ever “unsheathed” or if it was worn underneath his shirt, out of sight as is standard for observant Sikhs in the US. Sing and his wife were ejected from a showing of “The Man of Steel” for refusing to follow the policy. “I was surprised, not only did our night get ruined, but it felt kind of really racist, the way we were treated and kind of kicked out,” Singh said.

AMC issued this statement in response to the criticism:

Our ‘no weapons’ policy prohibits guests from carrying weapons of any kind into our theaters. This national policy is for the safety and security of our guests and staff. The person in question was approached when our security team noticed the guest was wearing an approximately 5-1/2 inch unsheathed knife, in clear violation of our rules. We stand by our policy, as this matter is about the weapon alone and not at all about religious freedoms. The safety and security of all our guests and associates is our duty and responsibility, and we take it very seriously.

A Kirpan [kir-pahn] is a ceremonial dagger carried by baptized Sikh’s and must be worn at all times along with four other Articles of Faith although not all those who identify themselves as Sikhs carry one.

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An example of a ceremonial Kirpan carried by baptized Sikh’s as an article of faith

Many Sikh’s have opted for a representation of the article instead of an actual functioning blade just to avoid being harassed in a Post 9-11/Aurora, CO world. Homeland Security has adopted some general guidelines of allowing Kirpan’s smaller than 2-1/2 inches long and have even created a special educational section of their website to create awareness of the religious article.

This is not the first time this battle has been waged as Sikhs have fought (and won in some cases) the legal right to carry this article. Kirpans have been banned in Denmark and France while have gained acceptance in Canada, and were allowed at the 2012 Olympic Games in London despite extreme security. Sikhs using their Kirpan for violence it should be noted is extremely rare but there was this high-profile 2010 case in Brampton, a suburb of Toronto, where a clash occurred between rival members of a Sikh temple where one man was stabbed. Sikhs have historically been confused for Muslims who also wear Turbans and last year were targeted in a mass shooting by a White-Supremacist in Wisconsin that left 6 dead.

Read More on Sacramento based ABC News 10:
Sikh couple kicked out of theater due to religious item →

About The Author

is a third generation Californian and East Bay native who moved to Emeryville in 2003. A new parent in the community, he can often be seen walking his French Bulldog rescue "Fiona" around his Park Avenue District neighborhood, traversing the greenway on his bike or enjoying his favorite Emeryville small businesses. Rob's "day job" is as a creative professional.

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