Sikh youth refused entry in restaurant for wearing turban

Sikh youth refused entry in restaurant for wearing turban
Photo by Sandy Millar

New York: A Sikh youth was refused entry in a restaurant here for wearing a turban when he went there to meet friends after midnight, leaving him "hurt and embarrassed," according to a media report.

Gurvinder Grewal, 23, went to Harbor Grill in Port Jefferson after midnight on Saturday but the security at the restaurant did not let him in with his religious headwear, citing new policy of the eatery.

I felt shocked, embarrassed and hurt. I never encountered a situation where I was refused service or entry into an establishment for wearing a turban, Grewal, a graduate from the Stony Brook University, said.

He said that he explained to the manager that he wore the turban to practice his religion and want to spend time with friends for the night, the New York Post reported.

However, the manager at the Harbor Grill did not allow him inside, citing a new policy introduced at the bar that enforces a dress code after 10 pm on Friday and Saturday nights, restricting all headwear, the report said.

[He was] wearing what would be more widely perceived as the slang term dew rag' or a stocking cap' and not a traditional turban, the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post after residents expressed outrage.

We do not allow hats or headwear in order to more capably identify people inside the establishment, the restaurant said.

Clarifying their stand, the restaurant said that Harbor Grill embraces people of all races and religions, and does not discriminate against anyone for their creed or colour.

We sincerely apologize for any distress that this incident may have caused. Please know that our weekend dress code policy is in place for the safety of all of our patrons, the restaurant said.

Anyone wearing any type of hat is welcome during normal restaurant hours, it said.

Grewal said that Port Jefferson Mayor Margot Garant apologized to him for the incident and advised him on actions to take on the issue.

He tried to obtain a police report today at a Suffolk County precinct but was told that it was a civil matter, not a criminal matter, the report said.

The officer recommended I contact a civil attorney or the ACLU. I plan to reach out to them today or tomorrow, he said.

Throughout my life, I've faced verbal abuse and bullying about my appearance, mostly throughout the school. However, my basic freedom of entering public accommodations was never infringed upon, he said.