Canada minister tells of USA airport security hassles over turban

Canada minister tells of USA airport security hassles over turban

A Canadian Sikh minister was asked to take off his turban at a Detroit airport during a security check despite passing through the metal detector without any problem, prompting senior USA officials to apologise, media reports have said.

Navdeep Bains, Canada's minister of innovation, science and economic development, is a Sikh whose religion requires him to wear a turban.

In 2007 the TSA updated its protocols to allow passengers to keep turbans on during security screenings.

He recounted his experience to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, and she said her officials raised the issue with their American counterparts.

The incident involving Bains happened in April 2017 when he was traveling through Detroit Metro Airport on his way back to Canada.

What really stunned him was that, upon finding out that he is a cabinet minister, the security officials assured him that 'everything is fine'. He then asked for my name and identification.

Bains told La Presse what while security is important, "proper process needs to be followed".

A Canadian Cabinet minister said he was left "speechless" after he was told to take off his turban at a security check at a Detroit airport.

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After that, Bains says another person with airport security stopped him before he boarded his plane and told him he had to remove his turban.

"Once the agents realised my identity, they said they made calls and that everything was okay, that I could leave", Bains said, adding that this left him speechless.

"They would never ask me to remove my clothes", he said. "But by knowing my diplomatic status, you tell me that everything is correct". That's not a satisfactory response, ' he said.

In a statement to CBC, a spokesman for the US Transportation Security Administration said that a review of CCTV footage of the incident determined that the officer "didn't follow standard operating procedures". England added that the agent has since received additional training.

"We regret the screening experience did not meet the expectations of Mr. Bains", said Michael McCarthy.

"When possible, passengers may remove non-formfitting headwear before proceeding through the security checkpoint".

Ms Negron said that additional security screening may be required of individuals wearing head coverings, and that it applies to all head coverings and does not target any one group. In the 2015 election, 20 Sikhs were elected members of parliament and four - Bains, Harjit Sajjan, Amarjeet Sohi and Bardish Chagger - were appointed as federal ministers.

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