YouTuber Jasmeet Singh, more commonly know as JusReign, faced trouble at airport security over his turban on February 21, 2016. The comedian tweeted his experience with the Transportation Security Administration, catching the attention of many.
A turban is a religious symbol of empowerment for Sikhs. Ever since 9/11 and other recent terrorist attacks, turbans have been seen as a sign of threat. At airports in particular, people with turbans are often required to go through extra security. Many Sikhs have tolerated the extra security and have unfortunately become used to the process while traveling.
This time, Singh made sure to end the trouble.
Singh started off the security check normally. He was asked to have his turban pat down and to have his hands wiped by a cloth-like sheet that will be put in a machine to detect anything unusual. The machine beeped, and that is when security asked to take him in a private screening room for a double check on his turban.
The Sikh Coalition, a group protecting the rights of Sikhs, said, “Your turban should also not be ordered removed unless a screener detects something dangerous in your turban either at the pat-down or metal-detecting stage. To avoid false alarms, we recommend that you wash your hands before entering the screening area.”
The internet sensation says that he most likely still had some soap on his hands, or even lotion.
The comedian went into the room uncomplaining, until he was asked to take off his turban.
Senior Jahanvi Gathani said, “JusReign had a lot of patience with the TSA. He never lost it or was rude with the security.”
The YouTuber tried to compromise with the TSA, using the fact that the process of taking and putting on the turban was a lengthy process and may cause him to miss his flight. The manager eventually stepped in, giving the options of either taking it off like asked to and catching the flight, or going back out and booking his flight with another airline.
The comedian then decided to take of his turban, and it was ran through an x-ray machine.
Junior Pari Pandey said, “The TSA agents were rude to JusReign, and they shouldn’t have been. JusReign never was rude to them, so they should have respected his religion at least a little bit more.”
The turban predictably came out clear. After the extra scan, Singh asked if he could have a mirror to put his turban back on. The TSA agent present in the room stated that they did not have mirrors, and it usually was not something they generally supply. Singh replied with how it is nearly impossible to put his turban back on without something to look in.
To add to the inconvenience, the TSA agent stated that if Singh needed a mirror, he should go out to the public bathroom where there is one.
Senior Parth Patel said, “I can’t believe the agent actually told JusReign to go to the public bathroom. How uneducated could the agent be? It’s even more sad that he’s a TSA agent at an airport and it’s his duty to be mindful of other religions.”
The YouTuber stated in a recap video he made of the situation, “Why would you take me into a private room to get me to ‘undress’ or take off my turban, if you’re just going to tell me to go outside again, to a public bathroom, and tie my turban there?”
Singh then had no option other than to go out to the public bathroom. Although he is an entertainer and shares a good amount of his life on the internet, including a few images of him without a turban, it was not correct of the TSA agent to ask a man wearing a turban to go out into the public eye.
The TSA agent should have been mindful of religious symbols people wear and the significance it holds toward that religion. For example, a hijab holds a great deal of importance to Muslim women. If people of Muslim faith are wearing it to cover parts of themselves, they obviously would not be comfortable going out in the public eye without it on.
Luckily, Singh’s dilemma was noticed by the TSA. They acknowledged the incident and even wrote a blog post about it. The YouTuber also announced that he would be collaborating with the TSA to make a video informing the rest of security about a turban and its importance.
If you were in JusReign’s position, how would you react?