The Supreme Court of Cassation, the highest court in Italy, on Monday disallowed a Sikh man from carrying his kirpan (dagger) in public, local news agency Ansa reported. The man, who has not been named, had approached the court to plead against a lower court’s decision to impose a fine of 2,000 euros on him in 2015 for carrying a 20-centimetre kirpan in public in Goito, Mantua, in 2013.
The Italian Supreme Court, while delivering its ruling, said immigrants in the country had an obligation to integrate with Western culture. “An attachment to one’s own values, even if they are lawful in the country of origin, is intolerable when it causes violating the laws of the host country,” the court was quoted as saying by the news agency.
“A multi-ethnic society is a necessity, but it can’t lead to the formation of conflicting cultural groups...precluding the unity of the cultural and judicial fabric of our country, which identifies public safety as an asset to defend and as such bans carrying weapons and objects aimed at injury,” the court added.
Sikh men abroad have got into trouble for carrying the kirpan, one of the five articles of faith in the Sikh religion, earlier as well. In September 2016, United States police had surrounded a Sikh man in Pennsylvania after receiving reports of a “Muslim man walking around a shopping centre with a large sword”. The victim then, 33-year-old Harpreet Singh Khalsa, said he had been racially profiled, but local police said their informants had been justified in reporting their concerns.