Tags: waris ahluwalia | sikh | actor | turban | flight

Waris Ahluwalia, Sikh Actor, Barred From Flight Over Turban Flap

Image: Waris Ahluwalia, Sikh Actor, Barred From Flight Over Turban Flap
(PatrickMcMullan.com via AP Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 12:54 PM

Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh actor featured in "The Grand Budapest Hotel," was barred from a New York-bound Aero Mexico flight from Mexico City on Monday morning after being refused a private screening room where he could have his turban inspected.

"I've been randomly selected quite a number of times. It's like I'm defying the odds with the number of times I've been selected," the actor said, according to New York magazine

"I knew that there was just going to be more screening, which is understandable. There's nothing you can do, there's no redress, no one you can call and ask why is this going on. You just sort of grin and bear it."

Like many Sikhs who wear turbans, Ahluwalia was likely taken for Muslim, however Sikhism is altogether unrelated to Islam.

Ahluwalia said he had passed the metal detectors at security and was waiting at the gate when he was pulled aside for a second screening.

He said he complied with much of the screening, including "the wanding, the padding, the swabbing, the going through the bag, swabbing the bag."

They then reportedly asked him to remove his turban right then and there in the gate area, at which point he asked for a private screening room.

"That is not something that I would do in public," he explained, according to the New York Daily News. "That’s akin to asking someone to take off their clothes." 

The screening agents refused, and soon enough the actor was informed he could not board the flight.

"I wasn't about to argue with them. They were pretty clear and concise in their messaging. I'm not going to chase the guy in the airport and get arrested in Mexico," he said.

Ahluwalia has now filed a discrimination claim with the Mexican government, and has used social media to bring attention to what he says is a civil rights violation.

In an act of protest, he has refused subsequent flight offers from Aero Mexico, saying he will not take them up on their offer until they apologize.

During the ongoing controversy, many have pointed out that Ahluwalia's scene in "Inside Man" shows him getting roughed up by police over his turban.

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Waris Ahluwalia, a Sikh actor featured in "The Grand Budapest Hotel," was barred from a New York-bound Aero Mexico flight from Mexico City on Monday morning after being refused a private screening room where he could have his turban inspected.
waris ahluwalia, sikh, actor, turban, flight
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2016-54-09
Tuesday, 09 Feb 2016 12:54 PM
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