Sikh leaders won’t attend a US interfaith meeting with Pope Benedict XVI next month because the Secret Service won’t let them wear ceremonial daggers, the AP reports. Kirpaans are required attire for the Eastern religion. “We cannot undermine the rights and freedoms of religion in the name of security,” said a Sikh official. But the Secret Service won’t bend the rules.
“We understand the kirpaan is a sanctified religious object. But by definition, it's still a weapon,” said a Secret Service rep. A conference spokeswoman said bishops involved in the meeting would be “very sad” to miss the Sikhs. The gathering of leaders of several religions, intended to show a commitment to peace, is scheduled for April 17.