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Tell Airport Officials to Stop Engaging In Racial Profiling Against Sikh Americans

This petition had 170 supporters


The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) just announced that Sikh-Americans should now expect turbans to always be searched at U.S. airports. While Sikhs already have to pat their own turbans and have their hands swabbed by a screener, now they must go through an additional hand wand of the turban 100 percent of the time.

"The TSA seems fixated on turbans even though we learned last Christmas that any piece of clothing can hide dangerous devices," said Amardeep Singh, Program Director, Sikh Coalition. "Blindly singling out turbans when any other piece of clothing is as capable of hiding explosives is unsafe and un-American. While forcing turbaned Sikhs to go through an extra pat down may make people feel safer it doesn't actually make anyone safer. This is security theater at its worst."

Oftentimes, Sikh-Americans are mistaken as the perpetrators of 9-11, simply because Osama Bin Laden is pictured wearing a similar headdress. This has led to widespread acts of discrimination against Sikh Americans and a litany of problems at airports. Sikhs are required by their religion to wear a turban, which is the most visible marker for the faith. The turban stands for spirituality, gender equality, and honor and it is considered  a grievous insult to request the removal of one.

The TSA holds that the increased scrutiny is due to the fact that a turban could hold non-metallic objects but at the same time, airport officials do not demand priests or nuns to take off their clothing in case they are hiding non-metallic objects inside.

Hypocrisy and fear of difference makes up the crux of this new discriminatory policy. We are already encouraged to come to the airports bare-footed. Next it is no clothes. Very soon TSA will declare that our airports are safe since no one is allowed to fly without being subjected to humiliating full-body checks and cavity searches. 

In order to gain back some semblance of credibility, TSA must address concerns from passengers with special religious or cultural dress needs. Doing nothing about the outcry to its discriminatory practices is simply unacceptable.



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