Sikh Coalition Offers Assistance in Illinois Court Turban Case

August 7, 2006

Source: Sikh Coalition

On August 7, 2006 the Sikh Coalition reported, "Inderveer and Manjit Singh arrived at the Will County courthouse in on March 17, 2006 to pay a traffic ticket. Inderveer Singh had received the ticket. His father, Manjit Singh, accompanied him. As father and son were about to pass through the court’s metal detector, a security guard said that they would have to take off their turbans if they wanted to enter the courthouse. Manjit Singh told the security guard that their turbans are mandatory articles of their faith that can not be removed in public. Manjit Singh also told the security guard that he works as an officer for the state of Illinois and had not had encountered a problem wearing his turban before at the courthouse... On April 21, 2006 the Coalition’s Legal Director sent Judge White a fourteen-page letter and packet of information on the rights of Sikhs to enter places of public accommodation while wearing their turbans. On May 15, 2006 Judge White spoke with the Coalition’s Legal Director to explain the court’s safety concerns. Judge White said that in the past gang members had hid weapons in their headdress to enter the courthouse. After receiving another letter from the Coalition on May 23, 2006, the Judge called the Coalition’s Legal Director this past July to inform him that the courthouse would allow Sikhs to enter its courthouse. He instructed his chief of security to work with the Coalition to develop a written policy for court security personnel that would allow people who wear any religious headdress to enter the Will County courthouse. The Coalition will also to work with courthouse security personnel to provide information and training to them on Sikhs and Sikh practices so that they better interact with Sikhs entering the courthouse."