Sikh who alleges eatery barred him entry wins international support after Facebook posting
Gaurav Singh, "a proud turban-wearing Sikh," says he was looking forward to a fun night on the town with friends on the weekend when he was refused entry to a Richmond Hill restaurant because of his religious headgear.
Singh's friend posted a letter detailing the incident on Facebook, inadvertently launching an international campaign of support with hundreds of online responses to his plight from as far away as India, the U.K. and the U.S.
Singh sent copies of the letter to Marlowe Restaurant and Wine Bar, the upscale eatery that is at the centre of the controversy, the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund and MP Navdeep Bains (Mississauga-Brampton South).
Singh did not return calls from the Star yesterday.
"What occurred ... was something I have never experienced in my 25 years in North America," writes Singh, an employee of a multi-national bank. "I have travelled across the globe and I am sad to admit that the only location I have ever received such treatment was the country where I am a proud citizen of. There was no other reason other than my religious head covering." Andrew Taranowski, co-owner of Marlowe, did not return calls from the Star yesterday.
"As you know, everyone consults their lawyer before they do anything nowadays," said a restaurant manager, who would only identify himself as John, adding that he was "under strict guidelines" not to discuss the incident.
"If you heard our side you'd be shocked. Right now there are so many lies and accusations going around, it's unbelievable.
"The misinformation is unbelievable," said John.
Singh's side of the story is that after waiting in line for an hour to get into Marlowe on Saturday night to celebrate the birthday of a friend, he was told both by the doorman and the owner/manager, whom he does not identify by name, that he would not be allowed in because of the establishment's no-headgear policy.
Singh explained that his turban is an article of religious faith, which should not be considered typical headwear and should not be discriminated against.
Moreover, Singh said he, as well as other turbaned Sikhs, had been welcomed at Marlowe in the past.
MP Bains, who is also a turbaned Sikh, confirmed he got Singh's letter.
"I haven't heard both sides of the story, " said Bains. [Link]
DNSI direct link 0 comments Email post: