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French Airports Targets Veiled Women

Published: 01/07/2012 12:18:34 AM GMT
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CAIRO - New measures taken at French airports forcing Muslim women to take off their hijab has triggered outrage in France's Muslim community for ignoring the religious minority's personal freedoms.“I am 65. What could the (more)

CAIRO - New measures taken at French airports forcing Muslim women to take off their hijab has triggered outrage in France's Muslim community for ignoring the religious minority's personal freedoms.

“I am 65. What could there be under the headscarf of a 65-year-old woman?” Narin Yüksel, one of the women who were asked to remove their headscarves at Nantes Atlantique Airport, told Today's Zaman.

“They told me that I would not be able to board my plane if I don't take off my headscarf,” she added.

Muslim women problem started two weeks ago when the Collective Against Islamophobia in France (CCIF) announced that Nantes Atlantique Airport has made it obligatory for veiled women to take off their hijab and place it in the X-ray machine along with their other belongings.

The practice was applied by the SGA, the company responsible for Nantes Atlantique Airport's security.

Airport officers asked women to remove their hijab at the conveyor with other belongings.

When women asked to be allowed to take hijab off in a special room for women only, their request was rejected.

The women were told that they must place their headscarves on the conveyor going through the X-ray machine if they wanted to avoid missing their plane.

“When we asked them to do the security check in a special room, they threatened to call the police if my mom didn't take off her headscarf,” Yüksel's daughter Hatice said.

The SGA defended their actions, claiming that dangerous materials could be hidden under the headscarves, which has triggered outrage in France's Muslim community.

According to EU airport security regulations, security staff do not have the authority to ask women to take their headscarves off.

Criticism

The new measures infuriated French Muslims, criticizing them as threatening integration efforts in the French community.

“We will not allow such actions, which threatens our ability to coexist, to happen again,” Union Des Associations Turques du Grand Ouest (UNATGO) President Ä°sa Sevencan told Today's Zaman.

Sevencan added they contacted Nantes Governor Christian de Lavernée and that he promised to put an end to the discriminatory practice.

The French Muslim Council (CFCM), which is tied to the French Interior Ministry, also condemned the new security procedure and called on Interior Minister Manuel Valls to initiate an investigation into the case.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one's affiliations.

France banned Muslim women from wearing hijab in public places in 2004 and face-veil in 2011.

But headscarves are still allowed at universities.

The number of Islamophobic attacks on headscarf-wearing women has been increasing in France in recent years.

In 2011, 94 percent of Islamaphobic attacks in the country targeted women wearing headscarves.

Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net




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