Sikhs can carry daggers to Olympic Games

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Sikh athletes and spectators will be able to wear ceremonial daggers around the London 2012 Olympic sites, organizers said Sunday.

Security will be tight at all Games venues, with Britain prepared to deploy surface-to-air missiles to protect London during the event, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said Monday, shortly after the government rejected reports of US security fears.

However, Sikhs will be allowed to take in a sheathed kirpan as long as it is worn beneath their clothing and if they can prove that they are adhering to four other articles of faith, The Sunday Times said.

In a bid to make the event the most religion-friendly Games staged, a record 193 chaplains from a multitude of faiths are being recruited, the broadsheet said.

The International Olympic Committee normally insists that Games facilities are laid on for Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.

However, London 2012 will also cater for Zoroastrians, Jains and followers of the Baha'i faith.

"We want to make sure the Games are accessible to everyone. The kirpan will be presented at security but it will not be unsheathed," a London 2012 spokeswoman told The Sunday Times.

"The policy has been set by our security team, who have liaised with stakeholders, and is part of our multi-faith approach."

The Sikh faith is the fourth biggest religion in Britain, at 0.6 percent, according to the 2001 census.

Security has been a key concern for all Games hosts and organisers ever since the 1972 Olympics in Munich where nine kidnapped Israeli athletes and four of their captors from the Palestinian Black September group, as well as a German policeman, were killed in a gun battle.

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