Sunday, February 26, 2012

Second class citizens

I've heard of Fireman Sam, in pretty much the same way as I'd heard of Bob the Builder, Being around people who have kids does that to you, though my own kids were more fans of Thomas the Tank Engine (The Ringo Starr version) So it did come as a little bit of a surprise to learn that the creator of the character, Fireman Sam, was detained at an airport for questioning why a veiled woman was not checked by security.Perhaps I shouldn't have been, though I suspect that those who did it will be feeling the heat a little, or perhaps not...
As David Jones arrived at the security gates at Gatwick airport, he was looking forward to getting through swiftly so he could enjoy lunch with his daughters before their flight.
Placing his belongings, including a scarf, into a tray to pass through the X-ray scanner he spotted a Muslim woman in hijab pass through the area without showing her face.
In a light-hearted aside to a security official who had been assisting him, he said: “If I was wearing this scarf over my face, I wonder what would happen.”
The quip proved to be a mistake. After passing through the gates, he was confronted by staff and accused of racism.
As his daughters, who had passed through security, waited in the departure lounge wondering where he was, he was subjected to a one hour stand-off as officials tried to force him to apologise.
Mr Jones, 67, who is the creator of the popular children’s character Fireman Sam, said: “Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport.
"I feel that my rights as an individual have been violated. What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I was humiliated and degraded in full public view.
"I am a 67-year-old pensioner and have lived my life within the law. I do not have even one point on my driving licence.”
He said that when he made his initial remark the security guard had appeared to agree with him, saying: “I know what you mean, but we have our rules, and you aren’t allowed to say that.”
“It was impossible to get her to listen to reason. We were then joined by a second female security guard who stated that she was Muslim and was deeply distressed by my comment.
“I again stated that I had not made a racist remark but purely an observation that we were in a maximum security situation being searched thoroughly whilst a woman with her face covered walked through. I made no reference to race or religion. I did not swear or raise my voice.”
 You know, I've often wondered the same thing myself, there's a damned good reason not to allow anyone in a public place with their face masked religious reasons or not. Yet here we are, a pensioner who made a remark in passing is subjected to an ordeal for simply questioning whether he would have been stopped if he tried to go through an airport with his face covered. As for the "deeply distressed" Muslim, wtf? Get another job if you're that sensitive to criticism, you don't have any right not to be offended by anyone not of your religion in this country, or at least that's the way the rules actually read.
Yet again, the state and their jobsworth underlings are pandering to the so called religion of peace (aka the religion of the perpetually offended)
This has to stop, we are all equal whether Islam believes it or not, if they don't like it, they should go.

6 annotations:

'Eddie Willers' said...

Well, it's easier to pick on the old, white guy for what he is apparently thinking, than it is to pick on the veiled woman for what she is openly doing.

The 'Jobsworth' mentality ('prepotentes' we call 'em here down old Mexico way) held not one jot.

Anonymous said...

This is complete and utter madness. Perhaps some techno savvy blogger could start a campaign which encourages every single Briton on going through airport security to ask the following questions.

Why did you just let someone with a scarf over their face through without making them remove it. If the authorities want to play silly buggers then the people should totally snarl them up!!

Groompy Tom said...

But wouldn't it just be too sweet if, in a few days, it turns out the bird in the veil was in fact some wanted bloke fleeing the country?

James Higham said...

More of the same old, QM.

Anonymous said...

The full text of the article went on to explain that Mr Jones asked for the police to attend, before asking the officer why, if he had conmitted an offence, he had not been arrested.

The simple answer is that he had not done so, otherwise he would, undoubtedly have been arrested and charged accordingly.

These functionaries detained him in an effort to force him to apologise for allegedly hurting their colleague's feelings.

In my view, their behaviour constituted both unlawful arrest and unlawful imprisonment and Mr jones should sue them for the appropriate level of damages.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I'm just wondering if the female Muslim security guard is there so that veiled Muslims* can demand that they be security checked by another Muslim?

The implications are rather worrying.

Also, if police and/or security staff misuse their position of authority to detain someone in an effort to force them to apologise to a Muslim, they should be fired and subject to criminal or civil prosecution.

*(Probably women, but who knows, based upon what has happened in the past?)