When Airport Security And Religion Collide

Posted in Air Travel by Hank on the March 5th, 2010

Earlier this week, The Telegraph reported that a Muslim woman was believed to be the first passenger to be prevented from boarding a flight after refusing to go through Manchester Airport’s security scanner for religious reasons.

The woman was about to board a flight bound for Islamabad when she was randomly selected to pass through one of the new full-body scanners, designed to detect concealed weapons, explosives or other dangerous contraband.

She was warned by security staff that she would not be allowed to board her flight if she did not comply, but she decided to forfeit her ticket.

A spokeswoman for Manchester Airport said, “Body scanning is a big change for customers who are selected under the new rules and we are aware that privacy concerns are on our customers’ minds, which is why we have put strict procedures to reassure them that their privacy will be protected.

Unfortunately, all the reassurance in the world won’t sway a person to discard their religious beliefs, no matter what the situation. Still, it’s hard to imagine anyone feeling comfortable boarding a flight with the knowledge that a fellow passenger had refused a scan and was still allowed on the plane.

Although Transport Secretary Lord Adonis has stated that passengers would not be selected for the full-body scan “on the basis of personal characteristics“, it will be interesting to see what conflicts may arise as the use of these scanners becomes more prevalent in months to come.

Tell us what your opinion is of these scanners by leaving a comment. Would you refuse to be scanned for any reason, even if it meant sacrificing your trip?


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