Integration must have the support of ethnic minorities—not be imposed on them, says Emran Mianby Emran Mian / July 14, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
British Airways (BA) used to forbid its cabin staff from wearing a Christian cross, though they permitted the Muslim headscarf. The national carrier hadn’t been Islamicised; nor were its Muslim employees more militant in asserting their rights. BA took a different approach to the two religious symbols because the headscarf could adopt the corporate colours whereas the cross was off-brand. The headscarf, you might say, was easier to integrate.
In 2006, BA’s policy was challenged by an employee who insisted on her right to wear the cross. The European Court of Human Rights ruled in her favour. Protecting the airline’s look, said the Court, was not sufficiently important to justify the infringement on her right to profess her faith. By contrast, in a linked case, the Court ruled that a hospital could ban the cross because the health risks—of the cross dangling down into an open wound, for example—were sufficiently important.