Racism spares none irrespective of whether you are a common man or a cabinet minister. Canada's Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains recently spoke about facing discrimination in the US. The minister revealed that he was once asked to remove his turban during a security screening at a Detroit Airport.
Bains spoke about the incident in an interview with French-language paper La Presse on Thursday, May 10.
In April last year, the cabinet minister, a devout Sikh, was heading home to Canada from Detroit, when he was stopped by the airport security and asked to remove his turban. This incident took place after Bains had made it past through the security checks, right before boarding his flight.
"He told me to take off my turban. I asked him why I would have to take off my turban when the metal detector had worked properly. I believed that it was an intrusion into my private life. They would never ask me to take off my clothes," Bains was quoted as saying by Guardian.
Bains added that wearing a turban is "one of the most dutiful acts for a person of the faith." He told the security personnel that he had cleared the security checks and the turban was not a threat.
Following this, the security officials asked him for his identification. He reluctantly gave his diplomatic passport. Baines hardly discloses his identity as a cabinet minister while traveling in order to understand the experiences of a common man with no special privileges, the UK daily reported.
What really stunned him was that, upon finding out that he is a cabinet minister, the security officials assured him that 'everything is fine.'
"I was speechless. I was at the point of boarding and they asked me to take off my turban. But upon learning of my diplomatic status, they told me that everything is fine. That's not a satisfactory response," Bains was quoted as saying by Guardian.
Canada's foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland spoke to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration regarding the issue. The US officials said that removing the turban is not part of airport security protocol and have apologized to Bains for the incident.