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Friday, August 24, 2007

Sikh Coalition Community Petition to TSA

The Sikh Coalition is calling on all concerned people to sign a community petition raising concerns with new airport screening procedures that effectively target Sikh turbans for heightened airport inspection....

With the information made available to us, the Sikh Coalition has four principle concerns.

* First the Coalition is concerned that the TSA guidance on how to implement the policy specifically lists the turban as an example of headwear that can be subjected to secondary screening at the discretion of the screener. We believe that the most precious article of our faith has become part of a government-mandated profile of a person who is a terrorist threat.

* Second the Coalition believes that the new procedure should not be kept secret. It is critical that the procedures be made public so that the millions of air travelers subjected to them understand their rights while traveling.

* Third the procedures are disturbingly vague. Screeners have personal discretion to subject a Sikh to additional screening, a turban pat-down, or to remove the turban. With 43,000 TSA screeners nationwide, and minimal cultural competency training, the Sikh Coalition is concerned that this will lead to religious profiling.

* Fourth the Coalition is concerned that the new procedures were created without consulting any Sikhs or Sikh organizations to determine if safety concerns could be met without compromising religious freedom.
[Sikh Coalition Press Release]

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