Friday, October 27, 2006

British Airways: No cross for you!

Culture: Niqab? We will think about it. Talk about serving up a ready made outrage for the papers to go nuts over.

British Airways has been accused of appalling double standards after admitting Muslim staff may be allowed to wear veils - just weeks after it sent a Christian home for wearing a cross. Check-in worker Nadia Eweida has been on unpaid leave for a month after the airline banned her from wearing her tiny cross on a necklace over her uniform. BA added further insult to injury yesterday when it said she can return to work wearing her cross -but only if she accepts a back room job where she will not come into contact with the public. Hours later the airline's muddled thinking was confirmed when a spokesman said any request from stewardesses or other uniformed staff to wear a full-face niqab would be given serious consideration. 'The request would be subject to a rigorous review, taking into account practicality, health and safety and security regulations,' said the spokesman. MPs described the latest developments as 'ludicrous', while Miss Eweida said the suggestion that she should take a back room job was 'morally degrading'. She demanded to know why she had to hide her faith from the public when Muslims and Sikhs can openly display theirs by wearing hijabs, turbans, and possibly a full-face veil. BA says Miss Eweida's cross is a breach of its strict dress code. Miss Eweida said: 'This is unfair. They are telling me to be out of sight. Why should I be hiding away in a non-uniform position when my Muslim and Sikh colleagues can be seen by the public? 'It is as if the cross is taboo. Despite all the people who have backed me, BA are still anti-cross. What is wrong with a little cross?

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