Top Democrat Slams Government Agency for Discrimination Against Sikhs

September 14, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: SikhNet News Archive/

The head of a powerful US House Committee has slammed the agency responsible for transport security for its "rampant religious discrimination and profiling" of Sikhs by forcing them to take off their turban during security screening at airports.

Tom Lantos, Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the abuse of a "flawed" policy which "humiliates" Sikh Americans because they wear the turban as an article of faith is "ultimately detrimental to national security".

A recent revision of the Transportation Security Administration policy said any head covering must be removed if TSA agents believe it could contain a threat to security.

"It seems that this policy change has prompted TSA employees to engage in rampant religious discrimination and profiling," Lantos wrote to Kip Hawley, the head of TSA.

The Democrat leader contacted Hawley after being alerted to several incidents of Sikhs being subjected to additional screenings at San Francisco International Airport, his congressional district.