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Ban the Burqa for Jefferson

Reader comment on item: Ban the Burqa - and the Niqab Too

Submitted by Alfonso Valdes (United States), Aug 2, 2007 at 17:00

The US Constitution prohibits government from enacting laws "respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof". I am not a Constitutional expert, but it seems to me that we should all be subject to the same requirements to allow airport security personnel to establish identity of a passenger and ascertain that this person is not carrying prohibited items on an aircraft. Face veils clearly prevent security personnel from establishing passenger identity, and there are stories by journalists who breezed through airport security wearing a niqab or burka.

Most people are required to remove hats, coats, suit jackets, etc. to pass through a TSA checkpoint. I have yet to see a Muslim or Sikh forced to remove their head covering. If my objective were to sneak C4 on a plane, I can get a lot more on under a hijab than under a baseball cap. I recently experienced first hand incidents in Basel and Frankfurt where Muslim women passed through the checkpoint without removing the hijab, although male passengers (in one case, apparently the baseball-capped hip-hop fashioned son of one of the women in question) were forced to remove their headgear.

Admittedly the woman in Basel was frisked, as were all passengers.

In the eyes of at least US law, the hijab is a hat and the niqab a mask, and should be regulated as such. To force me to remove a ball cap at an airport checkpoint is reverse discrimination. If I can be arrested for wearing a mask into a bank, a niqab wearer should be similarly subject to immediate arrest. This view is Constitutional, Jeffersonian, and liberal.

Submitting....

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