A Sikh-American teenager, who wrote a book about bullying of Sikh children, was compelled to remove his turban at a California airport after being threatened by security who said that they would deny access to his flight if he did not comply.
Karanveer Singh Pannu, an 18-year-old high school student from New Jersey, was asked to remove his turban as part of a secondary test after he had gone through a metal detector and submitted to a pat down of his turban and chemical swab test for explosive material.
“I refused at first but when they threatened me that I could not fly, I agreed, provided they gave me a mirror to retie my turban,” Pannu said.
“Before I removed my turban, Agent Hernandez asked the dreaded asinine question, ‘Is there anything we need to be aware of before you remove your turban?’
I politely answered that there is a lot of long hair and something called the brain underneath,” he added.
Security personnel in the US adhere to strict regulations that compel them to violate religious persons beliefs if they feel the person is a possible terrorist threat.
The irony of the situation is that Pannu had gone to talk about his book “Bullying of Sikh American Children:
Through the Eyes of a Sikh American High School Student” for children participating in the annual Sikh Youth Symposium in Bakersfield, California.
Pannu said he felt “utterly humiliated, shaken, distraught” by the experience.