U.S. Security Official Aims for 'Workable Solution' with Sikhs

September 1, 2007


Source: Newsday


WASHINGTON - Transportation Security Administration head Kip Hawley wants to make things right with members of the Sikh community who are angry about being asked to unwrap their turbans or undergo "patdowns" before being allowed to board airplanes.

Hawley contacted the New York-based Sikh Coalition on Thursday night to say he wants to find a "workable solution" to the community's concern that it is being unfairly targeted as a result of an Aug. 4 directive calling for scrutiny of head coverings that might hide explosives, from turbans to bowlers to baseball caps. The TSA has also called Muslim groups who fear the policy may single out Muslim women who wear hijab.

The TSA denies that turban pat-downs or removals are mandatory, or that the agency is engaging in religious or ethnic profiling. But members of the Sikh community say that since the policy went into effect, they are being stopped every time they go through an airport. As part of their religious practice, Sikhs are required to wear turbans.