I am finding it utterly disgusting and disappointing at how culturally and religiously insensitive airport/customs workers are. Incidences like this seems to be so common everywhere and we do hear about these racist incidences. Is there no “cultural competency” training for airport workers? This incident happened in the US (no surprises there) but I have seen similar incidences in Australia with how racist airport/customs workers are. This time, it was an elected politician who is a Minister for the Canadian Government who was the target and it is so shit at how far the disrespect runs.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains was told to remove his turban despite the fact that he had already cleared the airport metal detector at Detroit Metro Airport. For those if us who pay attention to different cultural and religious topics will know that a turban is extremely important to Sikh men, and to ask them to remove it is very disrespectful. This all happened in April last year when Bains was in Michigan to meet Michigan state Governor Rich Scyder and other officials.
Ottawa (Canadian Parliament) filed a diplomatic protest to Washington over this incident according to Bain Ministerial office last Thursday. The US has since apologized to Bains over the incident but it does bring up the issue of why this happened considering the US Transportation Security Administration passed new regulations in 2007 allowing Sikhs to keep their turban when passing security checks at airports. A staffer from Bains office stated that Bains at the time did not tell airport security that he was a politician so to be treated as an ordinary person, and it was until he was asked to come back ( after passing security screenings) to remove his turban that he pulled out his diplomatic passport. This is what Bains stated over the incident and about how being a devout Sikh is important to him:
“As a Sikh, wearing the turban is considered one of the most dutiful acts for a person of faith, and I am proud to represent my community – unfortunately these types of incidents do occur from time to time, to minorities in particular,”
“But it should never become the norm. I will continue to promote diversity and inclusion across the country – this is exactly why I ran for office.”
It is good that an apology has been issued and that US authorities have demanded Detroit Metro Airport staff go through sensitivity training, but it makes you wonder how many times these type of incidences have happened.
Image via SBS News
To read the original article, please click on: US apologises after Canadian minister told to remove turban