Not any more

YouTube veil video sparks airline safety probe

In Canada on August 2, 2010 at 12:52

Federal Transport Minister John Baird is probing whether airlines are following the rules requiring staff to see the faces of all passengers, including those wearing veils.

The move comes after a recent YouTube video posted by a British man. It appears to show two women in veils passing through an Air Canada check-in counter in Montreal last month who were not asked to remove their veils to check their faces against their passports.

However, there is cause for caution because the video has been heavily edited. It’s not clear what happened before or after the sequence posted.

The video is shot from a side angle. A man shows up at the boarding gate with four women and hands over their passports. They go through the gate, including two of the veiled women. They’re not wearing hijabs — the partial Muslim scarf — but the full veil that blocks everything but the eyes.

Baird said such actions pose a serious threat to the security of the air travelling public.

In a statement released Monday, Air Canada said the airline is aware of the video and “the safety and security of our operations is our number one priority.”

“We comply with Transport Canada regulations requiring passengers to present government-issued photo ID before boarding … and our agents are trained, to verify photo ID in a private area away from other passengers, as required for religious or medical reasons,” said Air Canada spokewoman Isabelle Arthur.

Air Canada has “reminded our employees of these procedures and are also working with Transport Canada on this matter,” she said.

The British man who posted the video has not yet responded to a request from CBC News for comment.

Baird said there are procedures in place to verify the identity of anyone who has his or her face covered. The approach is consistent with international standards, regardless of culture or religion.

Last year, the Canadian Muslim Congress supported legislation that would ban face-covering veils altogether, arguing the veils pose a security risk, and represented Islamic extremism.

via cbc.ca

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