Virginian Teenager Forced to Remove Hijab in Public

January 9, 2002

Source: The Washington Post

On January 9, 2002, The Washington post reported that Enaas Sansour of Virginia said "a male airline security screener at Baltimore-Washington International Airport forced her to remove her scarf last month. In front of strangers... Even though the metal detector, she said, never sounded.. 'No guys are supposed to see my hair until my husband sees it when I get married,' said Sansour, 17... 'It was very humiliating with all those people staring at me like I did something wrong'... the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a complaint on the teenager's behalf, seeking apologies from the screener's employer, Globe Aviation Services, and Northwest and Delta airlines... Hodan Hassan, the Islamic group's civil rights coordinator, said requiring Muslim women to remove their head scarves, or hijab, is tantamount to a public strip search because it violates Muslim teachings about modesty... Hassan said Sansour's complaint is one of a dozen the group has received from Muslim women forced to remove head scarves in public at airports under heightened security since Sept. 11. The group has received about 160 other complaints of racial or religious profiling at airports, officials said... Hassan said the group does not object to Muslim women being asked to remove their head scarves in a private area and in front of a female security screener, as long as they are not singled out for extra scrutiny."