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Dangerous Object Overhead (The TSA vs. Hijab & Turbans)

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airport_security_1.jpgApparently, the TSA believes that the hijab or the turban is a great place to hide dangerous objects. Why these two pieces of cloth are different from our pants or shirts is a mystery to me. On a related tangent, is it me or does it seem that the “War on Hijab” isn’t going away?

Here is the official release from TSA. The crux of the matter is this:

The new standard procedures subject all persons wearing head coverings to the possibility of additional security screening, which may include a pat-down search of the head covering. Individuals may be referred for additional screening if the TSO cannot reasonably determine that the head area is free of a detectable threat item. If the issue cannot be resolved through a pat-down search, the individual will be offered the opportunity to remove the head covering in a private screening area.

So, our Muslim sisters, you can probably count on receiving some VIP treatment on your next trip through the security line (not that you don’t already get some of it).

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Just to be fair, after I had my name removed from the “watch-list” (I think my 7 year old son is still on it!), I haven’t been receiving any VIP treatment (I am not too sad about it though). And generally speaking, the TSA folks are quite respectful and courteous. So, I don’t reckon that they will be any different with this rule.

What is important for the sisters to know is that you should know what TSA can and cannot do. If they want you to remove the hijab, then you have the right to ask for that to be done “in a private screening area” with a female. DO NOT GIVE UP on your rights. Otherwise, we will all lose them. All Muslim travelers should know their rights and report any profiling or other discriminatory incidents to CAIR at 202-488-8787, or file a report online at www.cair.com :

One final suggestion: Don’t get behind a group of Catholic nuns in the security line, you may be there for a long time!

Keep supporting MuslimMatters for the sake of Allah

Alhamdulillah, we're at over 850 supporters. Help us get to 900 supporters this month. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Shama

    September 1, 2007 at 5:32 PM

    I wonder often if people who have this obsession with hijab are intentionally trying to be funny. I have started to appreciate this sense of humour, i.e I laugh

    Can they come up with statistics about how many times an object with security issues was found in a Muslim women’s dressing? I mean when you come up with laws like this, there must be some empirical evidence/ statistical data to support it.
    On the other hand, we have numerous statistical data which supports that alcohol kills or it breaks homes or it is a source of domestic violence but nobody bans alcohol – cuz it is socially acceptable

    Topsy turvey sense of security!!!

  2. Zahra Billoo

    September 1, 2007 at 5:38 PM

    I’ve flown 2-3 times (domestically) since this most recent advisory was issued and FYI Alhamdulillah all I got was my usual VIP treatment – nothing over and above of it.

  3. Tarannum

    September 3, 2007 at 8:05 AM

    The kind of hijab I wear doesn’t require any pins just one peice. That I think will help that machine from not beeping on me. Insha’Allah.

    JazaKa’Allahu Khairan

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