Sikh Traveler Alleges Humiliation At LAX

March 6, 2009

Author: Staff Writer

Source: India Journal

The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund has called upon the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to investigate allegations of bias-based harassment and inappropriate touching of a Sikh American traveler by TSA officials at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on the night of February 5.

Mr. Singh, whose full name is being kept confidential at this time, passed through a metal detector at LAX without setting off an alarm but was asked to step aside for secondary screening of his turban. When he noted that a group of observant Jewish travelers in the line ahead of him were permitted to pass through security without removing their large religiously-mandated head coverings or submitting to secondary screening, a supervisor accused Mr. Singh of being uncooperative and reportedly told him: “I’ve been working here for a long time and know my sh*t. We don’t tolerate this type of nonsense from people like you.”

Mindful of his right to request non-invasive screening alternatives, Mr. Singh requested passage through a puffer machine but was refused this option. Instead, Mr. Singh was subjected to a full body pat-down, during which a TSA officer reportedly touched and squeezed his neck, arms, buttocks, legs, and genitals. Mr. Singh was ultimately asked to pat down his own turban and submit to a chemical swab of his hands.