Muslim woman refuses body scan in UK airport, loses ticket
Airport security officials in the United Kingdom weren’t kidding when they said they were going to force randomly-selected passengers to go through full-body scanners at security checkpoints. They’re not showing any mercy, and now the real debate has begun.
A woman who was selected at random was prohibited from passing the security checkpoint recently at Manchester Airport. She couldn’t board her scheduled flight to Pakistan as she refused to walk through a full-body scanning device. Her traveling companion did the same, citing “medical reasons” as an explanation.
The two women are thought to be the first passengers to refuse to submit to scanning by the machines, which have provoked controversy among human rights groups.
They were introduced on a limited basis last month at Heathrow and Manchester airports in response to the alleged attempt by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab to blow up a jet over Detroit on Christmas Day using explosives concealed in his underpants.
As I’ve said in the past, if it means we’re all going to be safer getting on the aircraft, then I’m completely willing to endure going through a full-body scanner. I’m more concerned with my safety and my life rather than someone in a distant room getting an alternative look at me on a computer that can’t even save the photo.
Furthermore, are “medical reasons” enough of an excuse to turn down a body scan? If they’re not going to let you on the plane with a little cold in fear of spreading swine flu, it’s obvious now that one won’t work either.
But it is evident that this was going to be controversial, especially when it comes to privacy rights and respecting religious values. Values differ from culture to culture, country to country, and we should have respect for all of them.
Yet, given the heightened-state of paranoia we live in now (justified again after Dec. 25, 2009), is that enough to stop the implementation of full-body scanners if it means stopping a potential plane bomber?
My answer is no. What do you say?