Federal minister Navdeep Bains was asked to remove turban at U.S. airport last year

Navdeep Bains
Photo: Twitter

NAVDEEP Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, told the media in Toronto on Thursday that he had accepted an apology from American officials after Detroit Metro Airport security asked him to take off his turban in April last year.
According to different media reports, Bains cleared the metal detectors without any issue. But during the screening process there was some “issue with the swab machine.” Swabs are taken to detect any contact with explosive materials. The swab machine emitted a warning sound and Bains was asked to remove his turban as part of a secondary search.
“I told him it was the machine that was not working well,” Bains told La Presse. “I asked him to repeat the sampling test again. And if there is a problem, we can consider other options because I think it’s an intrusion into my private life.”
A second test showed there was no problem with the turban.
Bains made it to the gate and then was asked again to remove the turban. He refused.
CTV reported that Bains said wearing a turban is “one of the most dutiful acts for a person of the faith,” and that being told to take it off was “frustrating” and “awkward.”
Bains then showed his diplomatic passport. He told the media: “Once they realized my position, who I was, I was ultimately allowed to fly.”
This was the first time this happened with him although he had traveled to the U.S. many times before
Bains noted: “I understand how important security is, but proper process needs to be followed.”
Following the incident, Foreign Affairs officials spoke with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration. The Americans apologized when it was concluded that what happened was against protocol.
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan told CTV that he had had the same problem at airports, including here in Canada.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau told the media said that they make sure that Canadian airport security officials “respect the rules that apply in the case of turbans, but at the same time, take care of ensuring that security is covered.”