Thursday, May 13, 2021
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US officials apologise for asking Canadian minister to remove turban at airport

US officials have apologised to Canadian Federal Innovation Minister, Navdeep Bains, who was asked by airport security in Detroit to remove his turban.


Bains, who has accepted the apology, is Sikh. He said that wearing a turban is “one of the most dutiful acts for a person of the faith,” and that being told to take it off was “frustrating” and “awkward.”


He told reporters in Toronto on Thursday that he had already made it to the gate while boarding his flight in April 2017 when he was asked to remove the turban. He did not comply.


Bains had already gone through additional security screen, as per US policy that allowed Sikhs to keep their turbans on when going through airport checks.


“Once they realized my position, who I was, I was ultimately allowed to fly,” Bains said.


“But for me, this is an issue that I think speaks to discrimination and discrimination happens to many people,” he added. “I’m in a very fortunate position to talk about it.”


“I understand how important security,” Bains said, “but the proper process needs to be followed.”


Bains added that he had travelled to the US and internationally many times and had never before been asked to remove his turban.


While Bains, as a member of the federal cabinet, carries a special diplomatic passport, his office said he did not use his status or show the passport until he was asked by a supervisor to confirm his identity.


Following the incident, Foreign Affairs officials spoke with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration. It was concluded that the way security officials acted towards Bains was against protocol, and the Americans have apologized, according to Bains’ office.



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