At Detroit Airport, Canadian-Minister asked to remove turban


Navdeep Bains wants his experience at Detroit Metro Airport previous year - when he was asked by security officers to remove his sacred turban - to be nothing more than a teachable moment.

Though he was asked to do so, he did not ultimately remove his turban, which is required wear under the tenets of the Sikh religion.

The incident prompted Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to express her disappointment to officials in the United States, following which they apologised for the incident.

On Thursday, Bains said airport officials had called him for additional screening as he was about to board. He added that when they realised who he was, they allowed him to travel and not take it off.

The Transportation Security Agency (TSA) says it regrets requesting that the Canadian minister for economic development remove his turban before boarding a US flight.

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"But for me, this is an issue that I think speaks to discrimination and discrimination happens to many people", he added.

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

U.S. authorities have apologized for the incident, which occurred while Bains was returning to Canada after meeting Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and other officials in 2017.

He described how after one initial encounter with overzealous security officials who wanted him to remove his turban, he was allowed to pass - only to be summoned back from the gate because of a problem with a swab test, when he was asked again to remove it.

While Bains, as a member of 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.

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"Unfortunately these types of incidents do occur from time to time to minorities in particular. It is exactly why I ran for office". But it should never become the norm.

After Thursday's story emerged the TSA in the USA issued another statement.

"We regret the screening experience did not meet the expectations of Mr. Bains", he wrote in an email to news agencies. "Upon review of airport closed-circuit video, we determined that the officer conducting the screening did not follow standard operating procedures and therefore received additional training".

'All persons wearing head coverings may be subject to additional security screening, which may include an officer-conducted or self-conducted pat-down.

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