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10.31.2007

no more turban "pat downs" at the airport

Beginning last weekend, airport screeners can no longer "pat down" people wearing religious head coverings—if the traveler agrees to undero alternative security measures: Feds change security procedure for turban-wearers. It's a compromise between Sikh and Muslim advocacy groups and the Transportation Security Administration, in response to an earlier TSA directive advising screeners to scrutinize anyone waring a head covering (i.e. a turban) or bulky clothes that might be hiding explosives. Sikhs in particular worried that the policy would lead to harrassment, since head coverings are part of men's religious observance, and their removal is considered a sacrilege. This is a decent compromise, though I have a hard time believing this is going to go smoothly. And of course there's the whole supposition that a guy with a "head covering" might be caring explosives. I doubt they were thinking of frat boys with Yankees caps when they came up with this rule...