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General The Video Spotlight: Grandma Got Molested At The Airport


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
To all: With all of the anger and frustration over the recent TSA security measures, which violate the personal space of everyone, but in particular of turbaned Sikhs, including Indian diplomats - the video is an attempt to find some humor - any humor - even if it is fox-hole humor - in the situation.

We have covered extensively. here at SPN. the TSA measures at USA airports. These include a scan, a wand check, a complete physical pat-down, and then off to the full-body scanner which projects an image of the naked person.

See this story as a recent example Opinion: Religious travelers troubled by pat-downs

There are even times when a private search is necessary because the state-of-the-art full body scanner does not reveal certain items.

The use of all of these safety measures contradicts earlier promises made by the Justice Department to civil rights organizations. They said that Sikhs would not be singled out for additional checks -- to no avail.

I would encourage all to go to the YouTube link

YouTube - Grandma Got Molested At The Airport

Read the reactions there, as many Americans, including Sikhs, are saying that all this proves the terrorists have won.
Jan 6, 2005
Metro-Vancouver, B.C., Canada
Religious travelers troubled by pat-downs

Sunday, December 26, 2010
The Record
Tara Bahrampour writes for The Washington Post.
AS Erum Ikramullah prepared to head to National Airport on a recent Thursday for a flight out of town, she mulled over two distasteful choices: The body scanner or the pat-down?

Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a trip to the airport has been fraught for Muslims, who sometimes feel they are being unfairly scrutinized because of their religion. The addition of full-body scanners, which many say violate Islam’s requirements for modesty, has upped the stakes, especially for women.

Ikramullah, who is 29 and wears a headscarf, was reluctant to go through the new scanners, which reveal the contours of the human body in glaring detail.

In Islam, "a woman’s body and a man’s body are both pretty much private," she said. "I choose to cover myself and dress in loose-fitting clothing so the shape of my body is not revealed to everyone in the street."

The other choice, an "enhanced" pat-down in which security agents touch intimate body parts, was hardly more appealing, said the College Park, Md. resident. In recent years, she said, she has been pulled aside for a milder version of the pat-downs almost every time she flies. The reason, she believes, is her headscarf.

"It can be humiliating when you’re standing there and people are walking by, seeing you get the pat-down," she said. "You just feel like you have a target on your head."

Muslims aren’t alone in their antipathy toward the new security measures. A number of other religious groups, including Sikhs, Orthodox Jews and some evangelical Christians, say the measures also make them uncomfortable or violate the tenets of their faith.

About 430 advanced imaging technology machines are in use in the United States, with plans for 1,000, in roughly half the nation’s security checkpoint lanes, by the end of 2011.

Opponents and civil libertarians have likened the scanning to a virtual strip search, and it has caused some to rethink their holiday travel.

"I’ve had a lot of Muslims, and particularly Muslim women, say they’re going to put off travel plans as much as is humanly possible because they just can’t take the humiliation of it all," said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). "They’re tired of being singled out for their attire. We have reports of Muslim women in tears."

Earlier this year the Fiqh Council of North America, a body of Muslim jurists who interpret Islamic law for Muslims living in North America, issued a ruling calling the full-body scanners "a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women," adding that the Quran requires believers to "cover their private parts."

But the alternative — the enhanced pat-down — has also posed problems for some, including Sikhs, who wear turbans as part of their religious observance.

Since 2007, people with "bulky" clothing, including Muslim women in headscarves and Sikh men in turbans, have been required to undergo secondary screenings involving pat-downs. Whether or not they are willing to go through the new scanners makes no difference, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

"Removal of all headwear is recommended, but the rules accommodate those with religious, medical or other reasons for which the passenger wishes not to remove the item," said Greg Soule, a TSA spokesman. If an officer cannot "reasonably determine that the clothing or head covering is free of a threat item," passengers are referred for additional screening.

Those interviewed for this story emphasized that they understand the importance of security for air travel, but some said the determination of what constitutes "bulky clothing" is applied subjectively, with a bias against religious headwear.

According to Soule, "TSA’s policies on bulky clothing and head coverings are applied to all passengers regardless of ethnicity or religion."

But Fatima Thompson, a Glen Burnie, Md., resident who wears a robelike jilbab and a headscarf, said the policy amounts to profiling. Although the Sept. 11 terrorists and other would-be airplane bombers were dressed in Western clothing, she said, "now they’re looking for specific ethnic displays, like beard or hair, and I don’t think that’s appropriate."

A lawsuit filed in July by the Electronic Privacy Information Center challenged the constitutionality of the scanners, listing among other complaints that use of the machines violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, "offends the sincerely held beliefs of Muslims and other religious groups" and "denies observant Muslims the opportunity to travel by plane in the United States as others are able to do."

In a written response to the center’s objections, TSA said that because passengers may request a pat-down as an alternative, the use of scanners "does not constitute a substantial burden" under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

But Rajdeep Singh, director of law and policy at the Sikh Coalition, which has also been in talks with TSA, said the practice of secondary screenings for all Sikhs in turbans verges on profiling. Some Sikhs have been told to remove their turbans and put them through the X-ray scanner.

"For a Sikh, that’s akin to a strip search," he said.

Requiring Sikhs to undergo secondary screening even after submitting to the scanners also raises questions about the new machines, Singh said.

"The TSA and Department of Homeland Security sort of intimated to us that if these machines were to be used as a primary form of screening and if they were so powerful that they could detect beads of perspiration, that it would obviate the need for a human screener and setting Sikhs aside for secondary screening," he said. "But they’re telling us they can’t see through a turban, which is thin cotton? It raises questions about the efficacy of the machines."
The new security measures also have raised concerns among some Orthodox Jews.

"In Jewish law the issue of modesty is a very fundamental element of Jewish life, and going through a machine that exposes a person’s body parts offends a person’s religious sensibilities," said Rabbi Abba Cohen, vice president for federal affairs and Washington director for Agudath Israel of America, a national Orthodox Jewish organization that has worked with TSA. "It’s clearly a picture that exposes private body parts, and I know in our community there would be a great discomfort in going through these machines."

Cohen said Orthodox Jews have also complained about the intrusiveness of the "enhanced" pat-downs. Some married Orthodox women, who hide their hair in public, have been asked to remove their wigs at airport security, he said, adding that he plans to talk with TSA about the issue.

As for conservative Christians, "there aren’t any specific Bible verses that say, ‘Thou shalt not be patted down by a government agent just to get on an airplane,’ but it would be a question of modesty," said Mike Farris, chancellor of Patrick Henry College and a leader in the evangelical movement.

Richard Land, head of public policy for the Southern Baptist Convention, which has 16.3 million members, said he has heard "a great deal of consternation and indignation" about the scanners.

"Conservative Southern Baptists, they’re talking about the modesty issues," Land said. "... The Bible’s pretty clear about nakedness not being something which is supposed to be public. It’s a disgrace."

He has encouraged Southern Baptists to find alternatives to air travel and to call airlines to let them know why. Comparing it to the Montgomery bus boycott in the 1950s, he said, "We’ve got to go to the airlines and make it hurt."



May 9, 2006
It is interesting when Muslims say they feel like they're being unfairly targeted because of their religion... but it was members of their religion who did 9/11, right? Unfortunately, there's a big branch of their religion which is out to destroy everything different to their own version of Islam... and you can't tell the regular Muslims from the ones who want to bomb other Muslims as well as everyone else on the planet.



Dec 22, 2009
"It is interesting when Muslims say they feel like they're being unfairly targeted because of their religion... but it was members of their religion who did 9/11, right?"

Well, theres no monthly muslim meeting where they get permission from others on whether they should do something heinous or not. Everyone whose being subject to these humiliating searches: Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, its all equally unfair.



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