For Sikhs, the turban is an internationally-accepted article of faith. Having it removed or handled in public is humiliating for any Sikh, however many Sikhs have compromised and thus far have acceded to the TSA’s pat downs and screening. It has not always gone well:
His son passed this test, but the officers told Bawa he had set off an alarm and called the police, who checked his records in Maryland, he said. He was tested again and came away clear, but was told that since he set off the alarm once, he would have to take his turban off, he said… Although Bawa had religious reasons for keeping his turban on, he went into a private room and reluctantly took it off. Officers took his turban away and brought it back minutes later.
One of the biggest concerns that Sikhs have over the targeted screening of our turbans is:
Seeing Sikhs go through extra screening because of their turbans will only reinforce some other passengers’ stereotypes, Singh said. The perpetuation of negative stereotypes is one reason Sikhs are still facing “hate crimes and bullying,” he said.