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U.S. officials apologize after Canadian minister asked to remove turban at airport

U.S. officials apologize after Canadian minister asked to remove turban at airport

The United States government has sent in an apology after the Canadian government filed a diplomatic protest on behalf of Canadian Minister of Innovation Navdeep Bains, who was stopped at a checkpoint at the Detroit airport and asked to remove his turban a year ago, the minister's office was quoted as saying on May 10 by AFP.

The devout Sikh, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in the Trudeau cabinet and graduate of the University of Windsor Odette School of Business MBA program, had been in Windsor and Detroit in April 2017 attending a Great Lakes Economic Forum and was preparing to board a flight to Montreal.

In 2007, the U.S. Transportation and Security Administration revised its screening process for people who travel with headwear, such as turbans.

The incident caused a minor diplomatic scuffle, prompting Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland to contact U.S. officials, who apologised over the phone, according to CBC.

It happened as Navdeep Bains was trying to fly back to Toronto, following economic meetings in the U.S. in April, 2017.

"Ultimately I was allowed to fly, but it was because of who I was and that should not be the case", he said.

"It doesn't matter what your status is, what your position is", he said in the televised interview.

The security agent ran the swab test again, and when it did not detect anything, he was allowed to proceed to his boarding gate. Then he asked for my name and identification.

"I went through all the security checks without revealing my identity as a minister", he told La Presse. Bains told La Presse that he had accepted the apology and only chose to go public to bring awareness to the issue and ignite dialogue about diversity.

Bains, a Sikh, refused to comply with TSA's request, which he said was a first in his many American flights. Being asked to remove the turban was akin to "being asked to take off my clothes", he said. "I asked him why I would have to take off my turban when the metal detector had worked properly", the minister said. "This is not a satisfactory answer", he said.

After Thursday's story emerged the TSA in the US issued another statement. England added that the agent has since received additional training.

The US officials expressed regret and apologised for the behaviour and he's accepted the apology.

Ms Negron said that additional security screening may be required of individuals wearing head coverings, and that it applies to all head coverings and does not target any one group.

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