Monday, January 09, 2006

Skies aren't so friendly toward Saudi Arabia

At least one British airline is forcing its employees to leave their Bibles, crucifixes and saint medals home, and its women flight attendants to mimic subserviance to male employees, as well as wear the head-to-toe covering known as the abaya, on flights landing in Saudi Arabia.

Teddy bears or other cuddly toys also are not allowed.

Airline officials, who have sparked outrage, the paper says, explain the Islamic kingdom's strict laws – enforced by religious police – prohibit public practice of Christianity and figures of animals.

BMI spokesman Phil Shepherd said: "In providing air services people want, demand and use, we have an obligation to respect the customs of the destination country."

An airline employee who asked not to be named told the Mirror: "It's outrageous that we must respect their beliefs but they're not prepared to respect ours."

The employee said his grandmother gave him a crucifix shortly before she died that he wears at all times.

"It's got massive sentimental value and I don't see why I have to remove it," he said.

The airline's staff handbook says: "Prior to disembarking the aircraft all female crew will be required to put on their company issued abaya. It will be issued with the headscarf which must be worn."

The employees' union wants staff members to be able to opt out of the flights, but the airline says the only option is to transfer from overseas staff to domestic flights, which could mean a loss of about $30,000 a year in wages.

We hope this craven surrender to political correctness is not catching on with other airlines. The airline industry, above all others, should hold aloft the western standards of freedom. If Saudi nationals want to fly on an airline that features Saudi chic, let the Saudis purchase and fly their own damn airline.

Further, business people have to develop some courage somewhere along the way if they are to help defend freedom. They have to realize that the slogan "millions for defense, not one cent for tribute" should apply to them too.


Post a Comment

<< Home