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Gurinder Singh from Sacramento refused to board aircraft simply because he refused unwrap his turban


NRI sikh refused to board aircraft simply because he refused unwrap his turban

  • According to the FAA, anyone wearing religious headgear should not be forced to remove it as long as they're able to pass through screening devices.
  • "If the turban did not set of the magnetometer, he should be allowed to proceed, a spokesman from one Airline told us
  • One sikh scholar said, "To take off the turban to clear Airport security is possible but unwrap the turban is not possible
  • Gurinder Singh is still in Toronto, poor guy, arranging another flight to come back to Sacramento

Toronto, May 07, 2007, 11.35am/pacific time

Flight was denied by TSA (Transportation Security Administration) Security officers because of Turban at Buffalo International Airport on May 6, 2007

I, Gurinder Singh practice Sikhism. I was asked by TSA officer to take off the turban and unwrap it to clear Buffalo International Airport security check at 5.30am on May 06, 2007.

I flew from Sacramento to Buffalo on April 28, 2007 on United Airline Flight #UA 0298 and was going to return on May 06, 2007 at 6.00 a.m. on United Airline Flight # UA 0641 from Buffalo to Sacramento via Chicago.

It was around 5.30 a.m. Security check was very smooth and Security Alarm did not go off but still TSA Lady Security Officer asked the other TSA Security Officer to check my Headgear. The officer asked the other officer if Security Alarm went off and she said no but I am concerned about his Headgear. Then he asked me to take off my turban and unwrap it. I explained that it is my religious symbol and I can not unwrap because of my religious belief. There was Sikh Boy behind me who was clean shaven explained the officer that this is his religious symbol and he can not let him unwrap it. He also told the officer that he himself is in US Army. The security officer did not listened to him and rather warned him not to interfere in this matter. I asked him that I want to see your supervisor. He called his supervisor Mr. Charles Batch # 41971. He came and I requested him to let me go without unwrap the turban but he denied the clearance without taking it off and unwrap it. He offered to get it done in private room but I insisted not to take it off and not to unwrap it. Then he called the Airport Police. Two police officers immediately came and asked me either take off and unwrap the turban or leave the premises. They threatened to arrest me; I choose to leave the premises and came back to United Air Line’s Ticket counter to get my luggage back which I checked-in. The employee at the United Air Line counter told me that the luggage is already gone.
It was still early morning and I was sitting right by the Air Line Counter, the same police officer came long with another police officer Mr. Loubert batch #113 and told me that he can give me second chance to let me through if alarm will not go off. But the second condition was that if security alarm will go off, then he will then detain me and I accepted that. Then I told him that alarm did not go off even at fist time either and it has been admitted by the TSA supervisor Mr. Charles as well. He said it could be misunderstanding and they will let me go this time; if there will be no beep or if alarm will not go off.

Then at Officer Loubert’s assurance, United Airline again issued me boarding pass for next flight #UA 379 for 7.47 a.m. from Buffalo to Sacramento via Chicago.

I cleared the security check in front of Police officer Loubert and again there was no security beep at all. But TSA security officer still was not satisfied and wanted to check my turban and took me to the private room. He taped my turban and again told me to take off my turban and unwrap it. I refused to do that. Then by this time there were more than 5 police officers. Police Officer Loubert along with other police officers ordered me leave the premises immediately. In the mean time a representative from United Airline came and informed me that my luggage is already gone and advised me to have some one pick it up from Sacramento airport.

When the police was escorting me to bring me out, I saw Bhupinder Singh Bajwa who is resident of Toronto, Canada, and I made him aware of this episode. He requested the police officer to have their Police chief to talk to. With his request Lieutenant Burgio Batch # 10 came and he also invited TSA Supervisor Mr. Charles along with him. But Supervisor Charles said at point blank that he will not let him fly without taking off and unwrap the turban. In the mean time Mohinder Singh Dhillon, who is also Toronto, Canada resident, came there and inquired about this. Police at first started yelling at him and warned him but later on listened to him. At this point there came another Security person in plain dress and told us to leave the premises immediately and he said that at this point he will not let me fly at all and rather he will order to arrest if we do not leave the airport. I was so frustrated at this. I requested Mr. Bajwa to give a ride to Toronto so that I could fly from Toronto to Sacramento.

I felt so humiliated and frustrated. I have been permanent resident of US and living in USA since June, 1996. It had never happened to me in the previous. I always felt proud to be an American till today. I am in Real Estate Business and deal with public all the time. I do not know and could not understand why it happened.

I request all of the Sikh organizations, government bodies, US senators, Canadian MPs, department of homeland security and human right organizations to make awareness to TSA regarding the Religious Symbol Turban and its respect and take appropriate action so the this thing does not arise again against minorities.
I am sending to all most all the organizations.

Victim of TSA Security
Gurinder Singh

  • After Sep.11 (9/11), Muslims or those who “appear” to be Muslim, such as Sikhs, have suffered discrimination.
  • In 2006, more than 800 hate crimes were reported against Sikhs in the United States.
  • Discrimination against people who “appear” to be Muslim is proving to be a persistent problem, particularly in the workplace and in air travel.

    This is very shameful to hear this kind of action even by Govt. Agencies. It is possible that some new employees are not aware about the TSA instructions but even Gurinder tried to contact Supervisor. There is no excuse for TSA TO OPERATION LIKE THIS........Gary Singh

NOW Question arises:

  • Is civil rights have been violated?
  • Is security people don't know their responsibilities, don't know instructions / guidelines and also may be some of them are indulging, perhaps unwittingly, into discrimination based on race and religious outlook of the person?
  • Is sikh person have to take off his turban in Air port security when he is ordered by TSA?
  • Is sikh person have to take off the the turban and then ordered to unwrap it to clear Airport security?


Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
() on Monday, July 2, 2007 at 05:25:30

Name_First112206: Baljinder Singh

LAST: Rathour

City, Country: London UK


Telephone: 0044-7931242466

Name of this Article: Turban

Add your (cut & paste) opinions/ comments/: Deg Teg Fateh,
With regard to the topic of asking to remove or unwrap turban of
S. Gurinder Singh at airport security checks, even if the alaram doesn't went on, let me educate TSA, can you please ask the passengers to take off their clothes because any thing can be hidden into any part of your garments, even if the alarm doesn't goes on. Covering the body is Humanbeing's self respect & covering the head with a turban is the selfrespect of a Sikh & no one is allowed to interfere with the personal & especially relegious beleifs. It is an appeal to every person of any origin or nation of the world who is aware of the turban to please educate the respect of turban to the people around them.
Listen me live on air on every friday 8pm to 10pm (UK time), log on to

Baljinder Singh Rathour


Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
() on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 at 13:30:47

Name_First112206: Marcello

LAST: Tagliente

City, Country: USA


Name of this Article: Gurrinder Singh

Add your (cut & paste) opinions/ comments/: This is a very bad news for religious liberty in USA, the land of the braves and the free.

I understand the need of security and safety, but this episode looks like a persecution done to one person ONLY because he is wearing a religious simbol, which does not even hide the face of the person wearing it.

This must be corrected and some training should be given to the TSA employees to reconize and respect ALL religious beliefs.


Below is the result of your feedback form. It was submitted by
() on Tuesday, May 8, 2007 at 18:46:12

Name_First112206: inderjeet

LAST: singh

City, Country: Haryana, India


Telephone: 0130-2243662

Name of this Article: Stop humiliation of religious practices

Add your (cut & paste) opinions/ comments/:

I have great sympathy for the sikh gentleman, who was not allowed to board plane without unrapping the turban. Although, I am not a sikh but interfering with someone's religious practices is bad.
I have high regards for Pope. But I will ask TSA security people, will they ever force Pope to remove his hat while boarding plane.
Sikh gentleman was kind enough to allow security people to remove turban instead of unrapping. There was no reason to unrap turban because alarm did not went off while passing through the security gate. Humiliation of religious practices should be critisized heavily.
In the end, I would say people of indian origin world wide should act together to stop humiliation of our people.Religious practices of all the religions must be respected.


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What Is TSA?

  • We are the Transportation Security Administration, formed immediately following the tragedies of Sept. 11. Our agency is a component of the Department of Homeland Security and is responsible for security of the nation's transportation systems.
  • With our state, local and regional partners, we oversee security for the highways, railroads, buses, mass transit systems, ports and the 450 U.S. airports. We employ approximately 50,000 people from Alaska to Puerto Rico to ensure your travels – by plane, train, automobile or ferry – are safe and secure.
  • The people at our agency, who are most visible to the public, are our Transportation Security Officers at airport checkpoints. While they are the largest group of our employees, they are joined by others in a variety of occupations, including Federal Air Marshals, Bomb Assessment Officers, intelligence analysts, and more.