Monday, April 20, 2009

Canberra bar apologises for rejecting Sikh due to turban

In more Sikh-related news, this week the Minque bar in Canberra is to apologise publicly to Kanwal Preet Singh Pamwa for forcing him to leave the premises. The reason? His turban violated their no-headwear dress code. Mr Pamwa, a IT-specialist civil servant who does not drink alcohol, was socialising with friends in the bar and apparently not causing any disturbance, when security staff approached him requesting he remove his turban. When he explained that he could not remove it for religious reasons, they instructed him to leave.

The manager reiterated the bar's dress policy and Mr Pamwa left. He did make a complaint to the Discrimination Tribunal and subsequently won an apology, to be made in a national newspaper. Minque's management also agreed to change their dress policy to allow certain headware which had cultural or religious significance.

I could throw the word "racism" around here, but I'd hope that the bar's rejection of Mr Pamwa was probably not based on racism, just its close cousin, ignorance. You'd think that they'd know by now that there are plenty of people in the community who wear religious headgear, but maybe they'd just never thought about it. Or maybe they were just @ssholes. (What, venue security staff acting like @ssholes? Never!)

Whatever the reason, well done Kanwal Pamwa for scoring one back for the Sikhs.

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