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British airline suspends staff for cross : Why they are tolerating the veils and burkas of Muslim Women

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Submitted by Proud Briton (India), Oct 17, 2006 at 10:27

British airline suspends staff for cross

London: A British Airways worker said on Saturday she planned to sue her employer after being sent home from work for refusing to remove a necklace bearing a Christian cross.

Nadia Eweida, a check-in worker at Heathrow Airport, said she would sue the airline for religious discrimination after being accused of violating BA's dress code.

"I was forced to take unpaid leave because I have refused to remove my cross or put it under my cravat," she said.

British Airways confirmed the case was being investigated and said Eweida's appeal would be heard next week. The airline said Eweida, 55, was on unpaid leave and had not been suspended.

BA said its policy was that employees must wear jewelry, including religious symbols, under their uniforms.

"This rule applies for all jewelry and religious symbols on chains and is not specific to the cross," the airline said in a statement.

"Other items such as turbans, hijabs and bangles can be worn as it is not practical for staff to conceal them beneath their uniforms."

Liberal Democrat lawmaker Vincent Cable, who represents Eweida's home area of Twickenham in west London, said it was "absolutely mind-boggling that Britain's flag-carrying airline could treat its employees in such a disgraceful and petty manner."

"Nadia is a devout Christian who was displaying her faith, but in a modest and totally unprovocative manner," he said.

"It is absolutely right that other religious minorities be allowed exemption from the dress code, but why can't a Christian be treated in the same way," he added.

Religious symbols and dress have been a hot topic of debate in Britain since a senior politician, Jack Straw, sparked controversy last week by saying he asks veiled Muslim women to uncover their faces when he meets with them.

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