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

View Royal mayor victimized in CERB identity theft scam

David Screech shocked to find his CRA account was accessed, his banking information changed

Greater Victoria real estate sales numbers tell two stories for July

Real estate board president Sandi-Jo Ayers talks about pent-up spring demand, low inventory

Driver loses control, crashes into Saanich furniture store

Crash at Lazyboy Furniture store Wednesday afternoon

B.C. Appeal Court prevents Victoria woman from using the term ‘death midwife’ in her job

Pashta MaryMoon claimed she had been providing “death-care services” for more than 40 years

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

B.C. doctors, dentists call on province for mandatory mask rule

Open letter says masks should be worn in indoor public spaces, public transportation or in crowds

Dwindling B.C. bamboo supply leaves Calgary Zoo biologists worried about pandas

Zoo has been trying to send pandas back to China since May

Facebook launches its new TikTok clone, Instagram Reels

Facebook has a long tradition of cloning competitive services

‘We all have anxieties’: B.C.’s top doctor addresses return-to-school fears amid COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry promises school restart plan safe for B.C. kids

B.C. fish harvesters receive long-awaited details on pandemic benefits

Applications to the $470-million federal assistance programs will open Aug. 24

Most Read