US airport officials ask Canadian Minister to take off his turban


A Canadian minister belonging to the Sikh Community had been asked to take off his turban at a Detroit airport during a security check despite passing through the metal detector without any problem. This incident further led senior US officials to apologise.

Speaking in an interview with the French-language paper La Presse on Thursday, Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, described the incident. Bains was returning to Toronto after meetings with Michigan state leaders in April 2017 when the incident occurred.

“He 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,” the minister said.

It may be mentioned here that the US amended its travel policy in 2007 which allows Sikhs to keep turbans on during the security inspection process.

In order to understand the travel experiences and frustrations of people who cannot afford similar privileges, Bains travels without disclosing his identity as a cabinet minister.

After the incident Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland had expressed discontent to her US counterparts. Both undersecretaries for the US homeland security and transportation departments apologised for the event.

According to reports, a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration informed that it reviewed closed-circuit video of the incident and determined the officer did not follow standard operating procedures; the officer subsequently received additional training.

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