Sikhs in the United States have complained of “racial profiling” after a Sikh businessman was made to leave the screening line at an American airport and forced to remove his turban for a security check. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) avers that Sikhs are not being specifically targetted and that they were only enforcing a new policy, launched on August 4, that allows them to subject travellers wearing headgear to additional scrutiny. However, leaders of the Sikh Coalition, an advocacy group, say the US government has “equated our most precious article of faith with terrorism”.
Questions: Are Sikhs right in complaining about the new law which was enforced without taking the 280,000 strong Sikh community into confidence? Should security agencies have the freedom to evolve laws as they deem fit to fight the war on terror, regardless of religious sensibilities? On the other hand, if a white man wearing a hat can also undergo the same scrutiny, does the Sikh have any reason to complain merely because his turban is a religious symbol? Is nothing sacred in the era of terror, and is racial profiling here to stay?