Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

A Muslim civil rights advocacy group is demanding changes at Air Canada after a 12-year-old U.S. Squash Team player says she was forced to remove her hijab while boarding at San Francisco International Airport.

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a letter sent Friday that federal and state laws were violated when an Air Canada gate agent demanded that Fatima Abdelrahman remove her religious head covering.

Abdelrahman requested a private area so she could remove her headscarf in private and in the exclusive presence of female Air Canada agents, but the council says airline employees refused.

The advocacy group is seeking the airline order cultural competency training for employees and policy changes prohibiting discrimination. It wants monetary damages for emotional distress, a formal written apology, and reprimand of employees involved.

ALSO READ: Air Canada adjusted earnings soar above estimate, revenue up in each segment

Abdelrahman was travelling Aug. 1 to Toronto with her team for an international tournament and had had no issues with TSA’s security screening.

“This experience not only went against Ms. Fatima’s reasonable request to be able to adhere to her religious beliefs but also left her feeling angry and humiliated,” wrote Ammad Rafiqi, a civil rights and legal services co-ordinator at the CAIR-SFBA.

The exchange became public when Abdelrahman’s older sister complained about the incident on Twitter.

Air Canada did not respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.

In its letter, CAIR-SFBA says that an Air Canada customer service manager emailed the Abdelrahman family Aug. 19 to say the airline had updated its boarding policies so agents need not remove religious head coverings in order to conduct identity screenings.

The response, however, did not address the emotional distress inflicted on Abdelrahman or violations of anti-discrimination laws, the organization said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Associated Press

Share
Published by
Associated Press

Recent Posts

  • Big News
  • Federal Election

ELECTION 2019: Here are the results in our 12 B.C. races to watch

Incumbents mostly won our 12 key races, but there were a few upsets too

3 mins ago
  • Federal Election
  • Home2

Conservative Dan Albas wins Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola

Supporters for candidates gather in West Kelowna to watch election results

53 mins ago
  • Federal Election
  • Home2

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive lead

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

1 hour ago
  • Big News
  • Federal Election

Tories take North Okanagan-Shuswap riding with decisive lead

Incumbent Conservative MP Mel Arnold returns to Ottawa, Liberal Cindy Derkaz a distant second

1 hour ago
  • Federal Election

Burnaby ‘Conservative’ candidate scores thousands of votes after being kicked out by party

Heather Leung was removed due to homophobic comments

2 hours ago
  • Big News
  • Federal Election

All but one federal leader re-elected in their ridings, early results show

Maxime Bernier only leader to lose his seat

2 hours ago