The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has issued a travel notice to Muslim airline passengers, warning them that new regulations from the Transportation Security Administration violate certain religious rules.
According to CAIR, the TSA’s new “enhanced pat down” policy should be limited to searching only around Muslim women’s head and neck if they are wearing a hijab and that Muslims objecting to the enhanced full-body scans have the right to request the pat-down procedure be done in a private place.
From CAIR’s press release:
Special recommendations for Muslim women who wear hijab:
* If you are selected for secondary screening after you go through the metal detector and it does not go off, and “sss” is not written on your boarding pass, ask the TSA officer if the reason you are being selected is because of your head scarf.
* In this situation, you may be asked to submit to a pat-down or to go through a full body scanner. If you are selected for the scanner, you may ask to go through a pat-down instead.
* Before you are patted down, you should remind the TSA officer that they are only supposed to pat down the area in question, in this scenario, your head and neck. They SHOULD NOT subject you to a full-body or partial-body pat-down.
* You may ask to be taken to a private room for the pat-down procedure.
* Instead of the pat-down, you can always request to pat down your own scarf, including head and neck area, and have the officers perform a chemical swipe of your hands.
In February, the Figh Council of North America, a group of Islamic scholars, issued a fatwa, or religious ruling, that full-body scanners violate Islamic law.
“It is a violation of clear Islamic teaching that men or women be seen naked by other men and women,” the ruling states. “Islam highly emphasizes haya (modesty) and considers it part of the faith. The Qu’ran has commanded the believers, both men and women, to cover their private parts.”
According to the Detroit Free Press, CAIR endorsed the fatwa.
If any passenger refuses the full-body scan, new regulations call for new, enhanced “head to toe” pat down procedures. “Pat downs are one important tool to help TSA detect hidden and dangerous items such as explosives,” a TSA statement issued on Oct. 28 stated. “Passengers should continue to expect an unpredictable mix of security layers that include explosives trace detection, advanced imaging technology, canine teams, among others.”
According to the TSA’s “Head-to-Toe Screening Policies,” the agency may carry out closer inspections, depending on what a passenger is wearing. Baggy or loose clothing often draws extra scrutiny from security screeners.