Metroblog

A one-time school project gone terribly, terribly wrong.

20 November 2007

And if Secular Democracies Are Going to be Taken Seriously

We need to stop seeing headlines like this:

Airport baggage screener suspended over long skirt

TORONTO - An observant Muslim woman has been suspended without pay from her job screening passengers and baggage at Toronto's Pearson International Airport since August over an extra 12 inches of navy blue fabric added to the skirt of her uniform out of religious conviction.


There's a bit more to it. Theoretically it's a violation of the uniform. And the woman worked five years in trousers without an issue.

But, come on--she added 12 inches to her skirt.

Had she decided to add a turban, a kippah, or a hijab, there wouldn't have been one word said.

So what the hell is the big damn deal?

"It's important to stress the importance of the uniform and uniformity. The reason it was rolled out was to have a credible and professional corporate identity," spokeswoman Anna-Karina Tabunar said. "We're treating it not just as an issue of a new skirt, we're treating it as a broader issue, a policy issue, and as such CATSA has to gather all the facts to evaluate the different aspects of the request and the impact it's going to have on CATSA's uniform and uniform policy."


Sounds like an awful lot of words to explain why it's necessary to suspend this woman without pay while that evaluation is going on.

4 Comments:

At 12:46 AM, Anonymous G Eagle Esq said...

Bonjour M Metro

"Vanity of Vanities, sys the Preacher, Ecclesiastes - All things are full of weariness, a man cannot utter it"

Il me faut continuer a prendre les tablettes

Tres worryant - je me trouve agreer (encore) avec le Monsieur Metro

The longness of a skirt seems a strange matter to be making such unPleasantness over

However, I wonder about a (potentially bomb-concealing) Hijab which also hides (almost all) the face .....

 
At 9:03 AM, Blogger Metro said...

Señor Águila:

The hijab hides the hair rather than the face.

It's the niqab, the veil, for that. Or the full burqa. And my guess (and honestly, my hope) is that within a couple of decades, these things will be outmoded in all but the most religiously-governed nations.

My guess is that most free women would choose not to wear the niqab or burqa.

I also think that you'd have to have one funny-shaped head to successfully conceal a bomb beneath a niqab.

"Something's fishy, Agent Bauer--keep an eye on that hydrocephalic Muslim chick ..."

But this woman is not trying to include the burqa or niqab (the hiujab conceals only the hair, usually) as part of her uniform. She wants to include a skirt. Or rather, 12 inches more skirt.

I'm philosophically opposed to longer skirts, generally. But why is it beyond the capacity of a large security firm with a multicultural workforce to accomodate 12 inches of extra material?

Oh--and if this woman presented the slightest risk of comitting a suicide bombing, d'you think she'd still be working at an airport?

I also must continue taking tablets--Horrid beginnings of a cold and I have a short singing performance tomorrow evening.

Vale

 
At 9:10 AM, Blogger Metro said...

Further thought:

Surely turbanned Sikhs present a greater threat of concealing explosives beneath their hats. Yet Sikhs are one of the heavier presences in security work in Canada, including airports. Which, in light of the Air India bombing, is surely as great a risk.

What about Orthodox Rabbis? You could hide anything under one of those homburgs.

And each of these religions has its extremists, terrorists, and suicide bombers.

Or the Amish---well maybe not.

But I'd be sitting in the back pew if that Archbishop of Canterbury was giving the sermon ...

 
At 8:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The authorities should spend less time worrying about skirt lengths and more time worrying about our seemingly lax airport security. (http://thechronicleherald.ca/NovaScotia/986236.html).

Norlinda

 

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