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Muslim women who refused to take ‘naked’ full-body scan are barred from Manchester to Pakistan flight

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From the Daily Mail

Two Muslim women have become the first passengers to refuse to subject themselves to controversial ‘naked’ full body airport scans, it emerged today.

The pair – who security officials insist were selected at random – opted to miss their flight to Pakistan and forfeit tickets worth £400 each rather than be screened.

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One of the women refused to go through the full-body scanner at Manchester Airport on religious grounds while her companion also declined for ‘medical reasons’.

The women were travelling together to Islamabad when they were selected to pass through the controversial security screen after checking-in at Terminal Two at the airport.

An estimated 15,000 people have already passed through the scanners, with the pair the first passengers to refuse a scan.

[Picture Edited] Naked scan: A Manchester Airport employee tests the scanner, with suspicious substances in his pockets that show up as a dark colour identified in the red squares

Both told airport staff they were not willing to be scanned. They were warned they would not be allowed to board the Pakistan International Airlines flight if they refused.

The pair decided they would rather forfeit their £400 tickets and left the airport with their luggage.

The £80,000 scanners were introduced at Heathrow and Manchester airports on February 5.

The X-ray machines allow security staff to see a ‘naked’ image of passengers to show up hidden weapons and explosives, but it has attracted criticism for also showing clear outlines of passengers’ genitals.

Manchester Airport confirmed the passengers had refused to be scanned but said it had received no complaint from the women.

IslamabadThe women were travelling together to Islamabad in Pakistan when they were selected to pass through the controversial security screen

However, civil liberties campaigners say the incident could form the basis of a legal test case to challenge the use of the Rapiscan device in airports.

Alex Deane, director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said the organisation would represent the women if they wished to challenge the decision in court.

He said: ‘People shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health, their faith, their dignity, or their privacy in order to fly.

‘People with health and religious concerns shouldn’t be forced to go through these scanners if they have good reason not to. Foolishly, the government has ignored both issues and ignored privacy concerns to boot – they are in the wrong on this.’

Security: The passenger is asked to stand in front of the machine, which produces a virtual 'naked' image that shows if they are carrying explosives or any other suspicious itemsSecurity: The passenger is asked to stand in front of the machine, which produces a virtual ‘naked’ image that shows if they are carrying explosives or any other suspicious items

There is one Rapiscan scanner in use in a trial at Manchester Airport’s terminal two, which has seen 15,000 people pass through it.

A further two devices – one each for terminals one and three – have been delivered and are set to be operational within the next month.

The scanners have been criticised by the human rights group Liberty and the government’s own Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Only selected passengers are scanned. Security staff say they are chosen at random and not according to race, religion or ethnicity.

Councillor Afzal Khan, who was Manchester’s first Asian lord mayor, said the vast majority of Muslims believed that any privacy concerns should be outweighed by ensuring they are safe when flying.

He said: ‘Hundreds of Muslim passengers have gone through without a problem. While I appreciate people’s concerns for privacy, these steps are necessary for our safety and security.’

A Manchester Airport spokesman said: ‘Two female passengers who were booked to fly out of Terminal Two refused to be scanned for medical and religious reasons.

‘In accordance with the government directive on scanners, they were not permitted to fly.

‘Body scanning is a big change for customers and we are aware that privacy concerns are on our customers’s minds, which is why we have put strict procedures in place to reassure them that their privacy will be protected.’

Last month, Transport Secretary Lord Adonis stressed that an interim code of practice on the use of body scanners stipulated that passengers would not be selected ‘on the basis of personal characteristics’.

Two weeks ago, a week after the scanners were introduced at Manchester and Heathrow airports, Islamic scholars in the U.S. said Muslim travellers should not pass through the scanners because they violate religious rules on nudity.

The Fiqh Council of North America issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, warning Muslims not to go through the scanners.

‘It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,’ read the order.

‘Islam highly emphasises haya (modesty) and considers it part of faith. The Quran has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts.’

In the U.S., there are now 40 scanners in 19 airports and could be as many as 450 by the end of the year.

The powerful council of ten scholars that issued the fatwa is affiliated with the Islamic Society of North America.

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Ify Okoye is a Muslim woman, a convert, born and raised in the U.S. She is from New York and her parents are from Nigeria. Despite the petty hassles of work and school, Ify finds time to travel usually for AlMaghrib Institute seminars and to visit beautiful places. Pronunciation primer for her name, say it like this: E-fee O-coy-yeah!

10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. anonymous

    March 6, 2010 at 1:12 AM

    Alhamdulillah one silver lining is that in the USA you can refuse these and they’ll give you a pat-down. You won’t need to forfeit your flight and money like in the UK. But how long will THAT last? The whole scanner thing is really disturbing and sick. But when you think about it, being groped isn’t that great of an alternative.

  2. YASIR AZIM

    March 6, 2010 at 1:34 AM

    I make dua to My Rabbi Allah to Remove these scanner ASAP.

    Lets Make all, dua for our ULAMA’s to steadfast on their ruling and do not consider this under necessity allowance EVER.

    Some of us may get away with this since its random but it is very frightning i’m not flying with this what should we do accept not to fly and comeback home.

    Two Thumbs for Sisters,,,,May Allah(swt) increase them in their Eeman Ameen

  3. naeem

    March 6, 2010 at 7:22 AM

    i’d like to know which government MP has his/her fingers in the pie of the company manufacturing these scanners.

  4. elham

    March 6, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Why does this article put the quotation marks around the word -naked-when describing the images produced by these scanners, which are by the way a test from Allah swt ?

    They are what they are : naked images. This machine was designed to remove modesty and bring humiliation to the people it was created for, us.

    May Allah swt exchange their good deed with a goodly reward, they stood as protectors of what Allah has given them ,their haya’, and showed these peoplethat the modesty of the Muslimah and her dignity is not equal to the world and its treasures let alone £800 !!

  5. Random Man

    March 6, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    This article sensationalizes a piece of news that is unimportant, these scanners were designed and are used to increase security in airports, I think the attempted bombing in Detroit proves we need heightened security, and as for modesty and privacy, these scanners provide translucent skeletal images. I think before people start protesting at airports they need to seriously think about whether they actually have a problem with the scanners or they are just bored, and whether they have even taken the time to research the technology.

  6. Umm Bilqis

    March 6, 2010 at 5:47 PM

    Link> article body scanner, Lew Rockwell

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/chartier/chartier110.html

    By all means we should all get educated about the matter and you may not like what you see.
    It is a dismay that they were not offered the pat down option in the U.K.
    Alternatives should be found to take the place of these virtual peep shows.
    Also they might cause cancer, especially for frequent travelers. They might cause birth defects for the unborn babies of pregnant women. It seems that they have not studied the use of these machines, long term.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janice-horowitz/dueling-docs-are-airport_b_480187.htm

  7. Umm Bilqis

    March 6, 2010 at 6:02 PM

    For some reason the second link did not go through so here is another article regarding the possible link to cancer.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/akers/akers112.html

  8. YASIR AZIM

    March 7, 2010 at 2:00 PM

    IN THESE EXTERME CONDTIONS OF SECURITY REASONS WOULD A MALE INSPECTOR ALLOWED TO SEE THESE IMAGES OF MALE AND FEMALE FOR FEMALE????????????????????

  9. Umm Bilqis

    March 7, 2010 at 4:41 PM

    The fiqh Council of North America has weighed in with the objections Muslims feel about this issue. They have recommended that other technologies be developed that can highlight questionable materials on the outline of the body.

    Here is the statement from the fiqh council of North America in full.

    http://www.fiqhcouncil.org/

  10. Bazza

    February 10, 2011 at 8:57 AM

    I think male & females should be scanned by their own sex…… I personaly would feel more comfortable knowing this was the case

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