STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

US apologized after Canadian minister was asked to remove turban

He had passed the usual security checks at Detroit Metro Airport but that was not enough. Then he was asked to remove...

Posted: May 11, 2018 2:26 PM
Updated: May 11, 2018 2:26 PM

He had passed the usual security checks at Detroit Metro Airport but that was not enough. Then he was asked to remove his turban.

At that point, Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains did something he doesn't always do -- he pulled out his diplomatic passport.

Bains described the episode, which took place in April 2017, in an interview published Thursday in the online newspaper La Presse.

"I went through all the security checks without revealing my identity as a minister," he said. "I did it knowingly, as is my habit, to understand better what ordinary people are going through when they sometimes have trouble getting along with people in a position of authority."

Following the incident, officials in Ottawa spoke to the US Embassy there as well as to officials in Washington. Officials with the Transportation Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security apologized to Canada on behalf of the US government, CNN understands.

Additional security

Bains said he initially went through a metal detector without any problem, but was then asked to go through an additional security procedure because of his turban.

An agent asked him to go through another screening but the machine was not working properly, Bains said. When it emitted a warning sound, a security officer asked Bains to remove his turban. "I asked him why I had to take off my turban since the metal detector had worked well," Bains told the newspaper. "I will never be asked to take my clothes off. It's the same thing. It's a piece of linen."

After passing a second test Bains was allowed to continue, he said.

But when he reached the boarding gate, less than 20 minutes before departure, a security guard approached him and said he had to go back to security because protocol had not been followed. He again asked Bains to remove the turban.

"I politely replied that I did not represent a security threat, and that I had passed all security checks. He then asked for my name and identification. I reluctantly handed him my diplomatic passport. "

Bains said he was then allowed to board.

'It should never become the norm'

"As a Sikh, wearing the turban is considered one of the most dutiful acts for a person of the 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," Bains said in a statement to CNN.

"I will continue to promote diversity and inclusion across the country as our government has done since we took office."

"We regret the screening experience did not meet the expectations of Mr. Bains," TSA spokesman Michael McCarthy said in a statement to CNN. "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."

The TSA spokesman added that "all persons wearing head coverings may be subject to additional security screening, which may include an officer-conducted or self-conducted pat-down. TSA does this to ensure that prohibited items or weapons are not concealed beneath any type of clothing and brought onto an aircraft. This policy covers all headwear and is not directed at any one particular item or group."

West Lafayette
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 58°
Kokomo
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 54°
Rensselaer
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 55°
Fowler
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 55°
Williamsport
Overcast
58° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 58°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Overcast
59° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 59°
Delphi
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 56°
Monticello
Overcast
56° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 56°
Logansport
Overcast
54° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 54°
Windy and Warmer Weather for Wednesday.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119066

Reported Deaths: 3612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21563768
Lake10745324
Elkhart6734112
St. Joseph6679115
Allen6364205
Hamilton4965109
Vanderburgh384231
Hendricks2779124
Monroe267137
Tippecanoe259013
Johnson2362125
Clark226757
Porter222447
Delaware201162
Cass19589
Vigo187928
Madison171475
LaPorte151941
Warrick140743
Floyd140464
Howard133964
Kosciusko127117
Bartholomew119357
Marshall102124
Dubois100919
Boone99746
Grant96636
Hancock94843
Noble92932
Henry82226
Jackson77610
Wayne77314
Morgan73940
Shelby68329
Daviess68129
Dearborn67928
LaGrange64711
Clinton63414
Harrison59824
Putnam59011
Gibson5455
Knox5379
Lawrence51829
Montgomery51321
DeKalb49111
White48814
Decatur46139
Miami4394
Greene42936
Fayette42314
Jasper4032
Steuben3977
Scott39311
Posey3541
Sullivan33812
Jennings31712
Franklin31525
Clay3105
Ripley3108
Orange28724
Whitley2876
Carroll28013
Adams2773
Wabash2758
Starke2737
Washington2702
Wells2694
Spencer2683
Jefferson2523
Huntington2503
Fulton2462
Tipton22922
Randolph2238
Perry22213
Jay1920
Newton17411
Owen1711
Martin1690
Pike1691
Rush1584
Vermillion1320
Fountain1302
Blackford1223
Pulaski1141
Crawford1100
Parke1072
Brown1033
Benton860
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren411
Unassigned0227

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events