Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cool Heads Prevail

This is really a small-change issue, considering everything else that's going on, but it's encouraging that everybody seems to be staying calm and reasonable about something on which they disagree:

A Muslim woman was asked to leave her place in line at a credit union in Southern Maryland and be served in a back room because the head scarf she wore for religious reasons violated the institution's "no hats, hoods or sunglasses" policy, the woman said yesterday.

The incident at the Navy Federal Credit Union on Saturday was the second in a month for Kenza Shelley, and Muslim advocates fear it could become a problem nationwide as many financial institutions, intent on curbing robberies and identity theft, ban hats and similar items without appropriate accommodations for religious attire.


"We want to be able to clearly identify who you are and make sure the transaction is safe," Lyons said. "This is a policy that applies to everybody in the branch. She wasn't singled out. . . . We tried to accommodate her and help her with her transaction and move on."

This is not a big problem. The nearest additional examples the reporter could find were apparently two cases in California. Some banks make exceptions for religious headgear; this one didn't.

You have to wonder what they'd do if it was a Catholic nun in a habit standing there. Would she be treated differently?

But, again, it seems like everybody is keeping their perspective on this. As the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations said, "There's got to be a way to work it out so that this security concern does not lead to violations of constitutional rights." Seems like everybody's on board with that, so far.

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