Livid American Sikhs liken plans to search turbans at airports to ‘racial profiling’

November 7th, 2010 - 12:29 pm ICT by ANI  

New York, Nov 7(ANI): Sikh groups in the United States are protesting against transportation officials’ plan to search turbans at airport screening stations in the country.

The groups are calling on their constituents to lobby Congress and the Transportation Security Administration to overturn what they said was an “unjust policy.”

According to the New York Times, officials from the Sikh Coalition, United Sikhs and the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund have met with representatives of the Department of Homeland Security and the T.S.A.

“All of us jointly feel there are definitely some elements of racial profiling here,” the newspaper quoted Jasjit Singh, Associate Director of the Legal Defense Fund, a civil rights group in Washington, as saying.

“While you’re spending that much time on Sikh Americans, who have absolutely no incidents of terrorism in the country, other people are getting through. In our faith, it’s the equivalent to being forced to be naked, effectively,” he added.

A T.S.A. spokeswoman, Sterling Payne, said that the procedure is justified to rectify the threat of terrorism.

“Removal of all headwear is recommended, but the rules accommodate those with religious, medical or other reasons for which the passenger wishes not to remove the item,” Payne said.

“If the officer cannot reasonably determine that the clothing or head covering is free of a threat item, individuals will be referred for additional screening,” she added.

Payne further admitted that despite the new body scanners, officers still “screen bulky items to ensure they do not contain a threat, which includes the use of a hand-held metal detector.” (ANI)

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