08:50 GMT +326 March 2019
Listen Live
    Navdeep Bains, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, speaks Wednesday, April 25, 2018, on Lake Union in Seattle at a news conference announcing that a partnership between Harbour Air and Kenmore Air will start offering direct one-hour seaplane flights between downtown Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, beginning Thursday

    Canadian Minister Receives Apology After Demand to Remove Turban at US Airport

    © AP Photo / Ted S. Warren
    Get short URL

    According to French newspaper La Presse, Canadian minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains was returning to Toronto from Detroit a year ago, and he had already undergone security checks, when a security agent asked him to take off his head-covering to pass through additional checks.

    In an interview with La Presse, the minister has revealed that the Trump administration has apologized to him after he wound up at the epicenter of a diplomatic scandal while traveling back to Canada from the United States.

    “He [security agent] told me to take off my turban. I asked him why I would have to take off my turban when the metal detector had worked properly,” Bains told the newspaper, adding that he rejected the agent’s request, as he believed “it was an intrusion” into his privacy.

    While the first security officer let him go, Bains was approached by another agent at his flight gate, demanding that the minister go back to the checkpoint and remove his turban.

    “He told me: ‘You have to take off your turban.’ I responded politely that it was not a security threat and that I had passed all the security controls. Then he asked for my name and identification. I reluctantly gave him my diplomatic passport,” Bains proceeded to say, adding that as soon as the security personnel found out his diplomatic status, they allowed him to board the aircraft.

    READ MORE: No Veil Behind Wheel: German Court Rejects Appeal Against Burqa-Ban For Drivers

    “Unfortunately these types of incidents do occur from time to time to minorities in particular. But it should never become the norm. I will continue to promote diversity and inclusion across the country as our government has done since we took office. It is exactly why I ran for office,” he said in a statement.

    Social media users, including fellow Sikhs, voiced support for the minister, calling to raise public awareness about the significance of turbans for Sikhs:

    Some US citizens have expressed sympathy for Bains, highlighting that ordinary Sikhs wouldn’t get any press coverage:

    In 2007, the United States issued Sikh Air Travelers’ Bill of Rights, stipulating that Sikhs have the right to wear turbans and religious scarves during security screenings in US airports, as well as the right not to remove their head-covering in public.

    Sikh, Navdeep Bains, United States, Canada
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik