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Anonymous26 Feb 2012
I am disturbed by this story
Assuming that Mr Jones only commented about someone passing through security with their face covered, I cannot see how
1- the comment is racist – to be racist, the comment needs to be oriented against a racial group
2- the comment is anti muslim – most muslims do not wear the hijab
It may have been that there is no requirement for the person to show their face in this process, in which case a simple explanation would have sufficed.
I am concerned that Mr Jones free speech seems to have been curtailed and also he may have been detained unlawfully.
Is it the role of airport security to take this type of action?26 Feb 2012
The United Nations use the definition of racial discrimination laid out in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, adopted in 1966:
“…any distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference based on race, color, descent, or national or ethnic origin that has the purpose or effect of nullifying or impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise, on an equal footing, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural or any other field of public life.(Part 1 of Article 1 of the U.N. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination)”
My opinion is that his comment talks about discrimination which was made by the airport’s staff. I also believe that he was right, although I would have never said that as everything that has to do with such things is too “sensitive” to talk about.26 Feb 2012
No again, if anyone was being racial its the security guards. I hope that the management at LGW look at this for what it is and warn staff that this kind of thing is not thier role.26 Feb 2012
As an aside, I am working in in KSA at the moment and I shared this article with the guys at lunchtime.
The Saudi view is interesting
1 – Hijab is cultural, not religious. The muslim security woman should not be offended because of religion
2 – Security rules should be the same for everyone
3 – Muslims living in Christian countries should be respectful to Christians, just as Christians living in Muslim countries should be respectful to Muslims26 Feb 2012
I wonder how the European Court of Human Rights would deal with a situation like this – a security operative, “detaining” (no the traveler wasn’t being detained), the security operative, was refusing to let a passenger pass through security when for the purpose of security, the passenger was “clean”.
Were Mr Jones’s human rights breached?
The second point – is this not a civil dispute? One person was “offended” by a remark. If a crime had been committed, I feel sure that Mr Jones would have been arrested. The police did not arrest him. The security operative took a personal stance.
Thirdly if the security operative acted outside the remit of her position, after all the comment was not apparently directed towards the person who got offended, surely the security operative should be reprimanded for causing the problem to escalate unnecessarily.
How ironic it would have been if the person in question was travelling to France where she would have to remove the hijab anyway.
Whatever happened to that lady whom BA suspended for wearing a cross that was visible to work?
In the UK today, it seems to be far better if you are non white, non Christian, get paid around the minimum wage level and are associated (through employment or contract) with a large company who are absolutely s**t scared to do anything that could possibly enable an employee to be “offended”.26 Feb 2012
Well said Martyn .. which is why, I, as a large tax payer to the UK coffers feel nothing but shame of our civil servants & politicians who have brought the UK to where it is today.
The UK today is a country that seems to allow well known terrorists to have bail at my expense. Shameful.26 Feb 2012
The incident as reported sounds to me as though the security goon was way beyond his remit in taking the action he did. This will do Gatwick no favours in a world where their reputation was rising. IMO disciplinary action may be called for to nip such inappropriate behaviour in the bud.26 Feb 2012
It looks like on this subject we are all agreed.
As always there are 2 sides to any story, I would love to hear from someone who defends the position of the security operative.
I hope this thread is bumped and kept to the top to get maximum exposure.26 Feb 2012
In addition to the civil action, we should accept the lead and if we see a similar act of neglect by a security or border official to establish/check/get on camera a persons identity we should ask for the security guards’ name then inform them that they will be reported accordingly. – To the home office, the head of LGW and ones MP. We take our safety and security seriously even if they do not.26 Feb 2012
When looking at these issues one needs to look to proportionality. Whehter it was meant to be offensive or not if the security had said I find your remarks offensive and Mr Jones had explained he meant no offense but would like to know if he had covered his face whether that would have been OK, then the matter would have been over.
It does appear that the Security company and BA through its employees along with the Police Officer were concerned to prevent any breach of the racial discrimination laws. In doing this there is a point of view that they acted disproportionately.
If this had happened in the US this forum would be making all sorts of only in the US comments, yet it shows that the enforcement of anti discrimination legislation in many countries is far from optimum.
I suspect that any course of legal action would be thrown out as all the parties involved were arguably performing their duties, however inadvisedly.
There should however be some work to create a best practice manual developed by the various authorities such that enforcement is proportionate to events and not as heavy handed as we see here.
As a parting comment, I hvae lerned over the years that making comic or ironic rearks to Security personnel, immigration or customs officers or police officers whilst on duty is not a good idea. They are employed to do a job that that tends to make them always be alert for suspicious behaviour and it is far better to say as little as possible.26 Feb 2012
Besides the “legal action” question, did the security operative have the right to stop the traveller passing through security control for a reason that basically had nothing to do with her job spec.
I agree with your comment concerning off the cuff remarks, however, instead of an off the cuff remark, did Mr Jones have the right to ask the question directly,
“am I allowed to pass through security with my face covered?”
This discussion is just one of many issues that have been raised about the security operatives at BAA airports and the powers they are displaying, which also includes invasive searches that could in any other circumstances be taken as common assault.26 Feb 2012
“Is it legal (in the UK) someone who does not work on police or perhaps customs officer to take/keep your passport?”
That’s why I made the comment that maybe he was unlawfully detained.
But I’m not a lawyer and it would need one to have an opinion on that.26 Feb 2012