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When is religious headgear not religious headgear?

10 March, 2009

Muslim Woman Asked to Leave Line at Credit Union Because of Head Scarf
By Matt Zapotosky
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In Maryland a woman was asked twice to step out of a credit union line where she has banked for more than ten years. The reason: she is a Muslim and was wearing a head scarf, as she has always done. Her face was not covered.  The same thing happened to two women in California.

In this instance, the credit union had recently instituted a new policy: hats, hoods, or sunglasses are no longer allowed.   It claims that it has seen an increase in the number of robberies (evidently by women with scarfs but not masks).  It also claims that others banks and credit unions are doing it, so it is okay.  (Ya right, sounds like the line a teen might use to explain away smoking or sex — everyone else is doing it.  Sorry kid, that don’t make it right.)

A hood might hide someone.s face.  I get that.  A large hat might prevent the camera from catching a good photo of a bank robber during the robbery.  I get that, too.  But if my face is showing, what else to you need?

The bank assures us that the woman was not singled out because she is a Muslim.  However, according to Fred Solomon, a spokesperson for the credit union

…said his tellers receive “special training on what is and isn’t religious headgear” and are told not to ask those wearing religious headgear to take it off. (emphasis mine)

So who determines what is religious headgear?

If a devout Muslim woman can not wear a scarf on her head, but her face is showing, she has an account at the credit union, and presumably she has some form of ID, if she states that she is a Muslim and can not remove her scarf, why should she be asked to leave the line?  Is she being refused service because Islam is not a religion?

Am I to understand that if an Orthodox Jewish woman enters the credit union wearing a hat fully covering her hair that she also will be asked to bank in the back room?  Would a Sikh be asked to remove his “headgear” or an Indian woman her veil? Would a Jewish man be asked to remove his yarmulke? If this is not profiling, someone please tell me what it is?

I wonder if the bank employees have been taught to recognize an unmasked robber with a gun in his pocket?


Here me rant: spare me the explanation about how Islam is the religion of vicious murderers, and how no self-respecting person would ever consent to be a Muslim.  That is just a distraction to allow the oil companies to sop up Middle Eastern Oil under the guise of spreading democracy.  Ask Exxon Mobil how its contact negotiations with Iraq are going.  You know the company with the most obscene profits you’ve ever seen, while you could not afford to fill up your car’s gas tank.  And then there are all those defense companies that need war to make their profits  – why are we ordering more F-22 fighters or destroyers (which we don’t need and can’t use anyway)?

We were all sold that “hate them all” line a long time ago, but look around your community and you will probably find lots of upstanding citizens who are Muslims but who are not terrorists.  We have been taught to hate “them” just as we were taught to hate so many “others” before; in the end, we discovered they weren’t so bad, but not before we’d killed a lot of them and used up whatever resources or manpower they had to offer us (think  Native Americans, Chinese, Irish, Catholics, Jews,  etc., etc.)

Wake up, you are losing your rights and this is just one more step forward; pretty soon, you won’t even mind when it is you.

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