Sunday, October 15, 2006

Ann Widdecombe MP calls on Christians to boycott British Airways

The Telegraph is reporting that a committed Christian employed by British Airways for seven years has been suspended for refusing to remove or conceal her small silver cross. Nadia Eweida is on unpaid leave pending an investigation (at least Orange employee Inigo Wilson was suspended on full pay), and Ann Widdecombe has called for a boycott of the company for its persecution of Christians.

An over-reaction? Possibly, but it is worth considering what religious symbols BA permits, and why:

Hijab: permitted. Reason: ‘not practical for staff to conceal beneath their uniforms’.

Turban: permitted. Reason: ‘not practical for staff to conceal beneath their uniforms’.

Kara: permitted. Reason: ‘not practical for staff to conceal beneath their uniforms’.

Cross (this one literally the size of a 5p piece): not permitted. Reason: it is contrary to BA’s policy of ‘respecting and understanding other people's beliefs’.

Miss Eweida said the cross reminds her that she ‘belongs to Jesus - one body, one spirit, one baptism’. She was informed by BA: ‘You were asked to cover up or remove your cross and chain which you refused to do. British Airways uniform standards stipulate that adornments of any kind are not to be worn with the uniform.’

BA uniform policy states that these items can be worn, but beneath the uniform. There is therefore no ‘ban’, as such, but Ann Widdecombe asserts: ‘We are supposed to live in a free country. Everyone should be able to practise their beliefs.’ She said that while a Muslim could wear a headscarf or a Sikh could wear a turban, ‘Christians have to stick their crucifixes behind their BA blouses’.

Cranmer understands that Miss Eweida’s appeal is sometime this week. If she loses, His Grace has a solution. He has in his possession a very large silver cross; it is fully 10 inches in length. He is prepared to loan this to Miss Eweida, and BA could not possibly object to her wearing it because ‘it would not be practical for her to conceal beneath her uniform’.

UPDATE

A helpful communicant has forwarded very useful contact information. The people at BA to whom one might complain are:

Willie Walsh, via his PA: theresa.j.sabin@britishairways.com
and Company Secretary: robert.webb@ba.com

Blessings on your efforts.

28 Comments:

Blogger istanbultory said...

Perhaps, BA would like Christian passengers to submit DNA samples and undergo finger printing at check-in- "We wish you a pleasant flight and that wouldn't be a cross around your neck, sir, would it?". Will Communities Secretary and fellow Catholic, Ruth Kelly, be joining Miss Widdecombe's boycottt?

Incidentally, while BA are actively denigrating and marginalising Christianity, Turkish Airlines are actively encouraging their personnel to reconnect with Islam and pay regular visits to the Mosque....

15 October 2006 10:00  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Actually I doubt she will lose because there is The High Court and The ECHR yet with the T&GWU Union funding the lawyers. There is also Jack Dromey of the T&G married to Harriet Harman. This issue is too big.

I would prefer Govt Ministers to boycott BA altogether and US customers

I wonder if Sikhs at BA carry their ceremonial daggers ?

It would be interesting to see which religious groups stand up in defence of Miss Eweida.........whether Sikhs or Muslims can see a general principle or not

15 October 2006 10:12  
Anonymous vikki said...

Your Grace,
I seethe with unabated fury. Perhaps you might want to summon all and sundry in the blogsphere to brief them on this latest sacrilegious development.

15 October 2006 10:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does BA have email addresses of which its senior staff are forced to take notice rather than those they pretend to read, for cosmetic purposes? Such would be places to tell them their fortune.

Any other ideas for forcing them to listen? I think they need to be annoyed, long and often, in ways they cannot ignore.

BA has quite a history of behavioural problems.

I have boycotted them for years already, to my profit, they are overpriced, partly because they employ so many 'managers' of the type that cause this kind of problem.

15 October 2006 10:39  
Anonymous Colin said...

BA depends on its customers for survival.

Therefore, the best method to bring down the Christiophobic senior staff of the BA is to sue the company for religious discrimination so that many customers will read in the media about its discriminatory practices and decide to use another airline.

15 October 2006 11:41  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

I fly BA frequently. Belfast to Heathrow mainly. I shall not do so again until this woman is reinstated and compensated for lost income. I shall email BA's customer relations department accordingly.

15 October 2006 11:47  
Blogger Cranmer said...

His Grace has discovered the BA email address for Customer Services.

He has just written:

Dear Sir/Madam,

As a minister in the Church of England, I have today decided to heed the call of the Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe MP and boycott your company. It is an exhortation I shall also bring to the pulpit, and I shall further encourage wider awareness of your discrimination throughout the Church.

Your policy towards Miss Nadia Eweida, who desires to wear an unobtrusive cross the size of a 5p piece, is absurd. To state that Muslims may wear hijabs or Sikhs wear turbans or karas because they will not fit beneath a uniform is manifestly religious discrimination, and illegal under UK and EU law. By that logic, if I were to give Miss Eweida my Bishop's cross, fully 10 inches in length, BA would need to permit her to wear it because it also would not fit beneath her blouse. Could you please explain why religious symbols are permitted only in proportion to their magnitude?

I believe the appeal hearing is this week. I hope BA will see sense. May I ask that you inform me of its outcome?

Yours faithfully,

+Cranmer

15 October 2006 12:09  
Anonymous Colin said...

Wonderful, His Grace,

You might also add a comment to BA's Passenger's Forum or add the information about BA's religious discrimination to it's Wikipedia site.

Furthermore, since BA threatened to "sue the British government for up to 300 mln stg in lost earnings stemming from extra security measures", the government might be happy to sue the BA in return for religious discrimination.

Finally, Willie Walsh is the CEO of BA. Why don't you phone 0870 8509850 and ask for the contact details for his Executive Assistants' Office and publish it here so that we all are able to write him a nice letter of complaint. One of his Executive Assistants will be dealing with our complaints as suggested by Stephen M. who worked for BA.

15 October 2006 14:09  
Blogger istanbultory said...

The Muslim Council of Britain, have supported Nadia Eweida's stance as an "expression of private religious belief". NuLabour is staying below the parapet on this issue. Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain said he "didn't understand" the move by BA to make remove her the cross. No word from the Dear Leader yet. He'll be checking in with the focus groups before he pontificates....

15 October 2006 18:46  
Blogger Peter Hitchens said...

The stupididy of this whole situation is that nobody (apart from vampires) is actually offended by a Christian cross.
I think turbans look smart ,and if a woman chooses to cover her hair (no veil) so be it , although having said that, I would like see the vast majority of our ethnics deported.I know how to make a decent curry and Tescos do corner shops better than Pakis.

15 October 2006 19:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Seemingly the more discrete the symbol of faith a lesser importance is assumed.
BA excuse the wearing of hijabs & turbans as they cannot be concealed.
Maybe Christians should take to wearing larger crosses that cannot be hidden under clothing.

15 October 2006 19:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Tescos do corner shops better than Pakis

They're not so good at cringing subservience, though.

As we no longer have a servant class perhaps we need a servant caste? The problem, as ever, is keeping them in their place. We have much to learn from the Hindoos.

15 October 2006 21:28  
Anonymous Brett_McS said...

Very nice, your Grace.

The "practicality" defense was always a red-herring. Are these people pathetic, or what?

16 October 2006 06:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

nice letters in Daily Telegraph on this subject today

16 October 2006 07:26  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Thanks, Cranmer, for the update. I have sent two further emails of complaint.

16 October 2006 16:19  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

I am aghast at this sort of petty interfering in the common sense of people's ordinary lives. British Airways should hang their heads in shame. They began by abolishing the Union Jack from their aeroplanes, as though there was a shame in the national flag, and now they single out Christianity 'because a cross isn't as big as a turban'. How silly and utterly stupid.

I also have sent my strong opinions on the matter to Mssrs Walsh and Webb. I shall let you know if I hear something.

16 October 2006 16:57  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

Willie Walsh bounces back.

16 October 2006 17:17  
Blogger Cranmer said...

His Grace has corrected his communicant's typo. Theresa should have had an 'h', and now has.

16 October 2006 19:25  
Anonymous Lena Mouse said...

No responses yet!

17 October 2006 13:27  
Anonymous Colin said...

"British Airways is being sued for religious discrimination after it required a Christian woman employee to conceal her cross while permitting other faiths to wear turbans, hijabs or Hindu bangles," according to Melanie Phillips article of October 16, 2006 in the Daily Mail.

18 October 2006 22:19  
Blogger Unite Muslims said...

I am a Muslim I standby that christian girls right to wear her religious symbol afterall what kind of free country is it, if you can't where a small harmless thing so dear to you.

This is an examplary hypocricy displayed by the UK, US so often. The sooner the world understands to respect each other belief and not try to force down each others throats whatever you think to be correct the better

19 October 2006 17:37  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes - there is a petition at BA I understand and a Cross Day............I hope this airline pays a price.

Last night the World Tonight Radio 4 staged a fatuous "debate" between loopy Joan Smith and the Bishop of Croydon - Smith things religion should be kept in a little box on the dressing table for private functions and not in public space................


Well I feel political parties should be banned as divisive and their symbols and advertising should withdraw to private space so we can discuss other matters in public

20 October 2006 08:55  
Anonymous Colin said...

@ Unite Muslims,

What you wrote is absolutely correct, namely "The sooner the world understands to respect each other belief and not try to force down each others throats whatever you think to be correct the better."

The problem is that not all share your view. In fact, public opinion polls revealed that approximately one third of European Muslims think aggression is a valid method with UK Muslims showing the highest percentage of believers in aggression.

BTW, the slogan "Unite Muslims" seems to be adapted from the communist slogan "Workers Unite". You are certainly aware of the fact that the aim of the communist slogan to activate the workers in the industrialized countries for fighting the existing order and for conquest of the government. If you really are in favor of respecting other religions, you should call yourself "Cooperate Muslims". Unite appears to be a call for rallying one group against another.

20 October 2006 23:46  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Unite Muslims, the problem is that none of your fellow 'united Muslims' are sticking up for this woman in the media. As long as your hijabs are safe, you don't really care. I have yet to hear a Muslim anywhere in the UK publicly defending any aspect of the Christian faith, or the liberties of Christians.

21 October 2006 12:50  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I have yet to hear a Muslim anywhere in the UK publicly defending any aspect of the Christian faith, or the liberties of Christians.

How could they ? They start by denying the Crucifixion; proceed to deny The Resurrection; falsely understand the Trinity.......................it doesn't really leave a lot to defend about Christianity does it ?


Denial of Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and his divinity leads a bit of a hole at the heart of "Interfaith Dialogue" which is why only Apostate Clerics can undertake the mission to the dark side

21 October 2006 16:28  
Anonymous Colin said...

Unite Muslims,

"The sooner the world understands to respect each other belief and not try to force down each others throats.."

We absolutely agree with you but are puzzled by some apparent contradictions.

Therefore, could you please explain to us the quotes from the Koran shown on Youtube which seem to at variance with your comment: Koran revealed.

21 October 2006 20:41  
Anonymous Colin said...

Food for thought.

Paul Belien, the Editor of the Brusselsjournal tlks in the US about the situation in Europe and the UK at Youtube:

Part I

Part II

21 October 2006 22:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

have none of you got anything better to do

12 February 2008 12:05  

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