Canadian comedian asked to remove turban at U.S. airport

A Sikh Canadian comedian says he was asked to remove his turban at a San Francisco-area airport on Monday during a security check, and was then denied a request to have a mirror so he could put it back on.

See Full Article

Jasmeet Singh said he initially passed the first security screening at the airport, which involved a full-body scan in an X-ray machine, a guard using a hand-held metal detector to screen his body, and a swab test.

"After all those tests one of the agents told me I had to go do some extra screening," he told CTV News Channel on Tuesday. "They took me into a private room, and one of the agents said I needed to remove my turban."

Singh, who wears a turban as part of his religion, said at first he asked the guards if they could simply pat his turban down instead.

"At the end of the day, I feel that it's just a cloth," he said. "And if you can feel through my sweater, you can feel through my turban."

But the security staff said Singh would have to remove his turban if he wanted to get on his flight. So, he agreed, and the guards ran the cloth through another X-ray machine.

But when the guards brought the turban back and told him he was free to go, Singh asked if they could bring him a mirror so he could retie his turban before leaving the room.

"Unlike a hat or a shoe, you can't just plop it back on," he said, explaining that it takes some effort to retie the cloth. "It takes time and precision, there's a beautiful art behind it," he joked.

Instead of accommodating Singh's "simple request," the guards told him he could walk to a public washroom and use the mirror there to retie his turban.

However, this is problematic for some Sikhs, Singh said, because many see removing their turbans as a form of undressing.

"If you're taking me to a private room to undress, which is what it is for Sikh men, you can't expect them to walk out undressed," he said.

And while Singh has removed his turban before in some of his online skits, many other Sikh men would be "extremely uncomfortable" with the request, he said.

He said he doesn't fault the security agents who screened him according to protocol, but believes there is a general lack of awareness and understanding surrounding turbans.

Earlier this month, Indian-American actor and designer Waris Ahluwalia wasn't allowed to board an Aeromeixco flight after he refused to remove his turban.

The airline later issued an apology, and said it was working to strengthen protocols in "respectful accordance with the cultural and religious values" of its customers.

Ahluwali welcomed the apology, but also stressed the need for increased education – a sentiment that Singh agrees with.

"Give respect; take respect, at the end of the day that's what it boils down to," Singh said. "I don't think that (the incident) was dealt with properly."

Singh, who goes by the stage name JusReign, is an active comedian on social media, with more than 680,000 subscribers to his YouTube channel.

He shared the incident on Twitter, where he has more than 189,000 followers.

so the @tsa made me take off my turban in extra screening or they said I wouldn't be able to be let through to catch my flight

— Jasmeet Singh (@JusReign) February 22, 2016

and naturally I'm like nah I really don't wanna do that since I got a flight to catch, but the manager intervenes and says I have to

— Jasmeet Singh (@JusReign) February 22, 2016

so I get into the private screening and take it off and they body search me and put my turban through another X-ray machine because "safety"

— Jasmeet Singh (@JusReign) February 22, 2016

after finding absolutely nothing wrong because a turban is just cloth and the whole thing is stupid I ask for a mirror to tie it back again

— Jasmeet Singh (@JusReign) February 22, 2016

the agent tells me there are no mirrors and that I can just walk down the terminal to the nearest restroom

without my turban on

— Jasmeet Singh (@JusReign) February 22, 2016


Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Hoping to lure back tourists, Greece reopens beaches after lockdown

    World News CTV News
    ATHENS -- With widely spaced sun loungers and regular disinfections, Greece reopened its organized beaches on Saturday as the popular Mediterranean holiday destination eases COVID-19 curbs in preparation for the return of foreign visitors next week. Source
  • First bottles of Chernobyl spirits seized by Ukrainian authorities

    World News CTV News
    TORONTO -- The first shipment of a spirit drink made from apples grown near the Chernobyl nuclear plant have been seized by Ukrainian security services for unknown reasons, according to the company that produces it. On Thursday, the Chernobyl Spirit Company announced that the first batch of 1,500 bottles of their “ATOMIK” Apple Spirit had been recently confiscated by Kyiv City Prosecutors following an investigation by Ukrainian secret services (SBU). Source
  • 'Hold onto the light': Toronto to vaccinate 50% of all adults with first doses this weekend

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- Half of all adults in Toronto will have received the first dose of their COVID-19 vaccine this weekend, marking an important milestone, officials say, in the fight against the deadly disease. The City of Toronto announced the update in a news release on Saturday, saying officials anticipate that first doses of the vaccines will be administered to at least 50 per cent of people over the age of 18 by the end of the weekend. Source
  • Alberta now screening patients who visit province's COVID-19 hotspots

    Canada News CTV News
    CALGARY -- Alberta Health Services tells CTV News they have adopted a practice where they inquire about the recent travel history of patients being admitted to hospital, and add that Banff and Fort McMurray are on that list. Source
  • NHL relaxing virus protocols for vaccinated playoff teams

    Canada News CBC News
    The NHL is relaxing virus protocols during the playoffs for teams that reach a threshold for vaccination. The league sent a memo to teams and players Friday night outlining changes that take hold once 85% or more of the travelling party has been fully vaccinated. Source
  • Bomb blasts kill dozens near school in Afghan capital

    World News CBC News
    Multiple blasts targeted a school in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, mostly students, a senior Interior Ministry official said. The official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties were students coming out of the Sayed ul Shuhada school. Source
  • At least 30 killed in bomb blast near girls' school in Afghan capital

    World News CBC News
    Multiple blasts targeted a school in the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens more, mostly students, a senior Interior Ministry official said. The official told Reuters on condition of anonymity that most of the casualties were students coming out of the Sayed ul Shuhada school. Source
  • Quebec COVID-19 hospitalizations drop by 27, province adds 958 new cases

    Canada News CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Quebec reported Saturday that 958 more people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections since the start of the pandemic to 357,174. Of those, 337,538 people are reported to have recovered from the disease, an increase of 1,033. Source
  • Birthday at skate park brings unwelcome $880 fine for Ottawa teen's family

    Canada News CBC News
    An Ottawa family says they were shocked to receive an $880 fine days after letting their 14-year-old son use a nearby skateboarding park on his birthday. Merrick Batstone's family decided to celebrate his 14th birthday on May 3 by visiting Legacy Skatepark to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Source
  • Bomb kills at least 25 near girls' school in Afghan capital

    World News CTV News
    KABUL -- A bomb exploded near a girl's school in a majority Shiite district of west Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 25 people, many them young pupils between 11 and 15 years old, Afghan government spokesmen said. Source