Australia pub apology for evicting turbaned Sikh

AP News
Posted: Jul 04, 2011 2:42 AM
Australia pub apology for evicting turbaned Sikh

An Australian pub chain was seeking to apologize Monday to a Sikh man who was evicted from a bar for wearing a turban.

The man was wrongly evicted from a pub in the east coast city of Brisbane on Sunday because staff decided that his religious turban did not comply with its policy against patrons with headwear, Spirit Hotels said in a statement.

"The patron should not have been asked to remove his turban, and we are attempting to contact the patron to apologize," the statement said.

Many Australian pubs ban headwear so that troublemakers can be readily identified from security camera footage or because caps can make patrons appear untidy.

Sikhs' turbans readily identify then as followers of their Indian religion. Wearing a turban is a tenet of the faith, along with unshorn hair and a beard.

Justin O'Connor, chief executive to the publicans' lobby group Queensland Hotels Association, said pubs had a right to refuse entry to anyone who did not comply with dress standards, as long as those standards did not breach discrimination laws.

Umesh Chandra, a leader of Brisbane's Indian community, said he had never before heard of a Brisbane pub asking as Sikh to remove his turban.

"In Australia, this is an isolated case," said Chandra, publisher of Brisbane's Indian Times newspaper.

The case attracted media attention after a man called a talk radio program Monday to report his daughter had been with a group of friends at the pub when one of them was told leave because of his turban.