Respect for the Sikh Turban at European Airports

Harjinder  Singh
Harjinder Singh 0 Comments
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From 1st July 2010 new EU Regulation on screening of passengers at airports is being implemented at Heathrow Airport. The Regulation, which came into effect on 29 April 2010, requires hand searches and discourages the use of hand-held metal detectors if walk-through metal detectors suggest a passenger may be carrying a prohibited article. This presents a major difficulty for turban wearing Sikhs as the walk-through metal detectors will almost always go off because Sikhs will be wearing a Kara (iron bangle) and if they are practising Sikhs they will be wearing a small Kirpan with a blade of up to 6cm, which now appear to be specifically allowed under the new Regulation.

The Regulation is being interpreted as requiring hand searches of the Sikh turban, which is offensive and most insensitive towards Sikhs. It will become an issue of considerable concern within the worldwide Sikh community because it will impact on all turban wearing Sikhs traveling to and from European Union airports.
 
We urge the UK Government to take the lead across Europe to ensure paragraph 4.1.1.7 of the Regulation is used to exempt the Sikh turban from such insensitive screening.
 

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