Indian immigrant Jaspal Arora, a religious Sikh, wears a turban everywhere he goes, including to morning workouts at the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center in Plainview.
On Thursday, his turban apparently sparked suspicion by one patron, after Arora tossed a bag of garbage into a trash can on his way into the building.
Now, a security guard who worked at the Jewish center on Manetto Hill Road is out of a job, after refusing a member's request to check the trash can for a bomb.
"I said this is nothing but a racist thing," said the guard, Stephen Ardell of Bethpage. "And that is when they told me to get my stuff and get out."
Susan Tregerman, an assistant director at the center where Ardell has worked for two years under contract with a security firm, denied that he was fired and characterized the episode as a misunderstanding.
"There was no bomb scare, there was no one fired," said Tregerman, who declined to comment further.
The incident has upset members of Long Island's Sikh community, who have said the post 9/11 climate has brought with it an atmosphere of discrimination and unfair scrutiny. [Link]
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