"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Sunday, 26 April 2009

British Airline Demands Islamic Dress Code

A very interesting story from the Times:

A BRITISH air stewardess was sacked for refusing to fly to Saudi Arabia after she was ordered to wear a traditional Islamic robe and walk behind male colleagues.

Lisa Ashton, a £15,000-a-year stewardess with BMI, was told that in public areas in Saudi Arabia she was required to wear a black robe, known as an abaya. This covers everything but the face, feet and hands. She was told to follow her male colleagues, irrespective of rank.

Ashton, 37, who was worried about security in the country, refused to fly there, claiming the instructions were discriminatory. She was sacked last April.

“It’s not the law that you have to walk behind men in Saudi Arabia, or that you have to wear an abaya, and I’m not going to be treated as a second-class citizen,” Ashton said last week.

“It’s outrageous. I’m a proud Englishwoman and I don’t want these restrictions placed on myself.”

Saudi experts and companies that recruit women to work in the country say it is a “myth” that western women are required to walk behind men. There is no requirement for them to wear the abaya in public, though many do.

...A BMI document circulated to staff who might travel to Saudi Arabia stated: “It is expected that female crew members will walk behind their male counterparts in public areas such as airports no matter what rank.”

Staff were also given abayas and were required to put them on when leaving the aircraft. Ashton, a practising Christian, was advised by union officials that it was considered a part of the uniform and she could face disciplinary action if she did not wear it.

On June 13, 2007, she was told she was rostered for a flight from London to Saudi Arabia and refused to go. She was dismissed for refusing to fly and for making it clear she would not travel to Saudi Arabia.

Her letter of dismissal said it was “proportionate” to ask female employees to walk behind men out of respect for Saudi culture. BMI has also defended its decision to require female staff to wear abayas.

Can you imagine the uproar if a Muslim woman were expected to go against her culture and religion in favour of or out of 'respect' for another?

Even one practised by a country in which she had chosen to live?

The double standards here are simply shocking.

I'm glad Lisa Ashton chose to fight this draconian nonsense, thus bringing it to the public's attention, and I wish her well in taking her case further now that it has been dismissed.

Where are all the human rights organisations when you need them?

Hat tip: Tundra Tabloids.


Dr.D said...

Does England stand for anything any longer, or does it just roll over? How positively vile!

I think women in parliament should definitely be required to wear an abaya and walk behind the men. Then things might change. I like the idea of Jacqui Smith in an abaya!

MK said...

Yeah, i saw this one yesterday, forced dhimmitude ey, outrageous if you ask me.

"Can you imagine the uproar if a Muslim woman were expected to go against her culture and religion in favour of or out of 'respect' for another?"

Exactly. I hope she sues them into submission, pun intended.

"Where are all the human rights organisations when you need them?"

Too busy trying to get terrorists in Gitmo accepted as citizens of America and straight onto welfare.

WAKE UP said...

Lisa Ashton isn't the only person who shouldn't fly to Saudi Arabia - nobody should.