Sikhs welcome changes in security screening rules at US airports

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Washington, Oct 19 (UNI) Sikhs in the United States have welcomed the steps taken by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to correct the policy of indiscriminate screening of their turbans at the American airports.

The United States Transportation Security Administration announced an adjustment of its screening policies for headwear which included Turbans.

According to the new guidelines by TSA, airport screeners will no longer "pat down" people wearing religious head coverings and travelers will have the choice to go through alternative security measures.

Officials said such alternatives might include walking through a machine that detects explosive chemicals. Or wearers could agree to pat down their own turban, and then have their hands swabbed with a cloth that is tested for chemical residue.

Welcoming the change, Sikh Council on Religion and Education Chairman Dr Rajwant Singh, said the Sikh community is fully committed to work with government to ensure the safety of all Americans and at the same time making sure that the religious rights of all citizens are protected.

Dr Singh also noted that TSA has promised that it will provide all its field employees with mandatory cultural awareness training about Sikh observances.

He urged TSA to hire more Sikh Americans in its administration.

This will certainly help in creating a congenial environment for the Sikh community.

He said, the new TSA policy is a direct response to Sikh concerns, raised after the TSA in August listed "bulky" headwear such as cowboy hats, berets or turbans should be patted down.

The TSA has now removed turbans from its screener guidance, he said.


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