Denial of Services for Sikhs

July 30, 2003

Source: Post-Gazette

On July 30, 2003 the Post-Gazette reported that "one year ago last week, Harpreet Grewal decided to take his wife out on the town to celebrate her birthday. But when they arrived at Donzi's Restaurant in the Strip District [in Pittsburgh], they were turned away, because Grewal, a Sikh, was wearing a turban... He was angry, but he didn't pursue the matter, thinking it was an aberration... Last week, Grewal, an Oakland resident, decided to take his wife, Gultaj, out again for her birthday, this time to Touch, also in the Strip -- and also run by the owner of Donzi's, Tom Jayson... And once again, the couple was denied entry... Such incidents are all too common nationwide, said Manjit Singh, executive director of Sikh Mediawatch and Resource Task Force... 'Denial of services in public accommodations is an ongoing problem,' said Singh, citing similar examples of Sikhs being turned away over the years at nightclubs in New Jersey and Texas for wearing turbans. Those cases were eventually settled, with the Sikh individuals allowed access. 'Unfortunately, many times the establishment is unaware that the turban is a religious article of faith.'"