A turban-wearing Rancho Bernardo medical school student claims he was discriminated against when he was turned away from a popular college hangout.
The bar in Orange County has a “no hat” rule.
But Sanjum Paul Singh Samagh, an American-born Sikh, said he tried to explain to the bar owner that his black turban was a centuries-old religious symbol, not a fashion statement.
“It may be a small thing, just getting into a bar to have a beer with my classmates, but it's the tiny things in life that add up,” Samagh said. “If I don't fight the fight, then what happens the next time?”
His classmates at the University of California Irvine Medical School have declared a boycott against the bar....
[Samagh] and his parents, Pam and Paul Samagh of Rancho Bernardo, said they have joined forces with the Washington, D.C.-based Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund, formally requesting an apology....
Paul Samagh said the biggest problem he experienced living in San Diego County was people mistaking him for a Muslim, because of the turban and beard that he and most Sikhs wear. It became dangerous for Sikhs for a brief period after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorism attacks, he said.
“People . . . threatened to kill me more than once,” said Paul Samagh, who owns gas stations now but ran a gourmet food store in Poway at the time. “I just stopped going to work after 9/11.” [Link]
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