The US Transportation Security Administration expressed ‘regret’ after Canadian Minister of Innovation Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, was asked to remove his turban at Detroit airport. Describing the incident, the Minister said that he went through all the security checks including a metal detector without any problem but then he was asked to remove his turban. Following the incident, officials in Ottawa spoke to the US Embassy as well as to the officials in Washington to lodge a complaint.
Officials with the Transportation Security Administration and the Department Homeland Security apologised to Canada on behalf of the US government. “We regret the screening experience did not meet the expectations of Mr Bains,” TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy said in a statement
Canadian Minister described the incident saying, after passing the security checks when he reached the boarding gate, a security guard approached him and said he had to go back to security because protocol had not been followed. The guard then asked Bains to remove the turban.
“I politely replied that I did not represent a security threat and that I had passed all security checks. He then asked for my name and identification. I reluctantly handed him my diplomatic passport,” Minister said.
“It should not become a norm”, said the Minister while stressing that these types of incidents occur from time to time to minorities in particular. “As a Sikh, wearing turban is considered one of the most dutiful acts for a person of the faith and I am proud to represent my community,” he added.
When asked about the incident Transportation Security Authority official said, “All persons wearing head coverings may be subject to additional security screening, which may include an officer-conducted or self-conducted pat-down. TSA does this to ensure that prohibited weapons are not concealed beneath any type of clothing and brought to an aircraft.”