The tail of the newly revealed Air Canada Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft is seen at a hangar at the Toronto Pearson International Airport in Mississauga, Ont., Thursday, February 9, 2017. Air Canada says its deal to acquire travel company Transat A.T. Inc. has cleared another hurdle. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

A Muslim civil rights advocacy group is demanding changes at Air Canada after a 12-year-old U.S. Squash Team player says she was forced to remove her hijab while boarding at San Francisco International Airport.

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations said in a letter sent Friday that federal and state laws were violated when an Air Canada gate agent demanded that Fatima Abdelrahman remove her religious head covering.

Abdelrahman requested a private area so she could remove her headscarf in private and in the exclusive presence of female Air Canada agents, but the council says airline employees refused.

The advocacy group is seeking the airline order cultural competency training for employees and policy changes prohibiting discrimination. It wants monetary damages for emotional distress, a formal written apology, and reprimand of employees involved.

ALSO READ: Air Canada adjusted earnings soar above estimate, revenue up in each segment

Abdelrahman was travelling Aug. 1 to Toronto with her team for an international tournament and had had no issues with TSA’s security screening.

“This experience not only went against Ms. Fatima’s reasonable request to be able to adhere to her religious beliefs but also left her feeling angry and humiliated,” wrote Ammad Rafiqi, a civil rights and legal services co-ordinator at the CAIR-SFBA.

The exchange became public when Abdelrahman’s older sister complained about the incident on Twitter.

Air Canada did not respond to an email from The Associated Press seeking comment Friday.

In its letter, CAIR-SFBA says that an Air Canada customer service manager emailed the Abdelrahman family Aug. 19 to say the airline had updated its boarding policies so agents need not remove religious head coverings in order to conduct identity screenings.

The response, however, did not address the emotional distress inflicted on Abdelrahman or violations of anti-discrimination laws, the organization said.

The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Oak Bay deputy police chief and family cut Guatemala vacation short to return home

Belize border, punctured gas tank part of the adventure

West Shore businesses bring fitness online during COVID-19

At-home workouts offered to help community keep fit

Program makes a connection with isolated Victoria seniors

Phoning Seniors Together program lines up volunteers with seniors at Luther Court

Mental Health: Fractured services leave community to fill gaps

Greater Victoria service providers working together to help youth

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Two inmates found positive for COVID-19 at federal prison in B.C.; other tests pending

15 staff self-isolating waiting results, refusal to work notice sent, says correctional officer

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

Nanaimo’s Harmac mill works to fill doubled pulp order for medical masks and gowns

Mill’s president says extra cleaning in place and workers are social distancing

Two people fined after B.C. police spot online ads re-selling 5,000 surgical, N95 masks

Police confiscated the masks, being sold at inflated prices, and now working with Fraser Health

Unclear if Cowichan couple refusing to self-isolate will face penalty

No fines or charges have been laid to date, including Cowichan couple who won’t self isolate

Most Read