The American Civil Liberties Union is calling for an investigation after a Mississippi judge allegedly kicked a Sikh man out of his courtroom and ordered him to remove his turban before coming back in for his hearing.
This all came after commercial truck driver Jageet Singh was allegedly harassed by police who called him a “terrorist” when they pulled him over in Mississippi, according to the ACLU.
Police reportedly arrested him during the traffic stop for disobeying orders when he insisted the “kirpan” he was carrying — a small, sheathed sword that is kept on the waistband — was not illegal.
Singh’s lawyer told the ACLU that Judge Aubrey Rimes said his client could not come into the courtroom until he took “that rag” off his head.
Discrimination is not unfamiliar to Sikhs.
Just last week, a Columbia University professor who also wears a turban keeps a full beard in line with Sikh tradition was attacked and called a “terrorist” by a group of young men in Harlem.
Mark Potok at the Southern Poverty Law Center told Business Insider that discrimination and harassment directed at Sikhs is relatively common.
“I don’t think there’s any question that that happens frequently,” he said.
In some cases, Sikhs — who typically hail from India — might be mistaken for Muslims.
But Potok says there has been “a remarkable level of violence directed at Sikhs,” especially in the aftermath of 9/11.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.