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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."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 752108

Reported Deaths: 13816
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1033831790
Lake558431013
Allen41736693
St. Joseph37007565
Hamilton36617417
Elkhart29425461
Tippecanoe22938228
Vanderburgh22565400
Porter19369327
Johnson18486389
Hendricks17696317
Clark13233195
Madison13176344
Vigo12631253
LaPorte12429221
Monroe12226176
Delaware10970198
Howard10349224
Kosciusko9643121
Hancock8578147
Bartholomew8174157
Warrick7864156
Floyd7815180
Grant7248179
Wayne7164201
Boone6979103
Morgan6768141
Dubois6224118
Marshall6214116
Cass6024110
Henry5903110
Dearborn589878
Noble581688
Jackson509476
Shelby502396
Lawrence4753122
Gibson445595
Clinton443555
Harrison441775
DeKalb440385
Montgomery439890
Whitley406744
Huntington403381
Steuben400859
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Knox377691
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Jefferson336186
White332753
Daviess3035100
Wells295481
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Greene286885
Fayette284864
Posey274335
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Scott270356
Clay267148
Washington246336
Randolph245183
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Spencer234531
Starke228159
Fountain222048
Sullivan214843
Owen212358
Fulton204043
Jay201032
Carroll193820
Orange188255
Perry187237
Rush175926
Vermillion175344
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Tipton166646
Parke149616
Pike138334
Blackford136232
Pulaski120847
Newton114936
Brown104443
Benton102614
Crawford102516
Martin91815
Warren84115
Switzerland8158
Union72810
Ohio57911
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1109697

Reported Deaths: 20213
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1289521469
Cuyahoga1158802216
Hamilton814201251
Montgomery525861049
Summit484551006
Lucas43384824
Butler39098606
Stark33355930
Lorain25689506
Warren24612305
Mahoning22388602
Lake21219389
Clermont20138253
Delaware18892136
Licking16671225
Fairfield16589204
Trumbull16560483
Medina15618273
Greene15292248
Clark14244306
Wood13296200
Portage13254216
Allen11919239
Richland11611211
Miami10857225
Wayne9153225
Columbiana9039230
Muskingum8909135
Pickaway8664122
Tuscarawas8654251
Marion8649139
Erie8058165
Ashtabula7171179
Hancock6999133
Ross6948163
Geauga6850151
Scioto6540106
Belmont6159174
Union585049
Lawrence5741102
Jefferson5683159
Huron5554122
Sandusky5444126
Darke5420129
Seneca5350128
Washington5321109
Athens524460
Auglaize502487
Mercer487785
Shelby477095
Knox4573112
Madison444566
Ashland435997
Putnam4336104
Defiance432399
Fulton432274
Crawford4046110
Brown402761
Logan387678
Preble3859105
Clinton379266
Ottawa373581
Highland360266
Williams348578
Champaign344959
Guernsey325254
Jackson318454
Perry297350
Morrow291940
Fayette285750
Hardin275765
Henry273867
Holmes2703101
Coshocton269360
Van Wert247264
Adams243156
Pike242835
Gallia240850
Wyandot234756
Hocking220663
Carroll197548
Paulding176642
Meigs148540
Monroe136345
Noble136239
Harrison114138
Morgan110124
Vinton85717
Unassigned03
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