Should a member of the Sikh faith—required by his religion to wear a knife at his side—be exempt from a municipal ordinance banning the public possession of an exposed knife?
No, ruled a New York state court. The court concluded that "while freedom to believe and worship as one chooses must remain absolute and unfettered, the state may restrict acts and conduct if the intrusion is justified by a compelling state interest to protect the health and safety of its citizens."
The court suggested that Sikhs use plastic knives, the public possession of which did not violate the ordinance. People v. Singh, 516 N.Y.S.2d 412 (1987).