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I do hope US passengers boycott BA so it can switch all its transatlantic flights to Saudi Arabia

I have avoided travelling BA for ages now.

Please! Will somebody tell me when all this nonsense started, and by who?? Time was, when a great many people of a great many careers, wore a cross of some description without comment. Jewish folk wore a star of David, Catholic folk had those clasped hands rings, Hindu women had a red spot on their foreheads, muslim women often wore a hijab, but not all, Sihks have their bangles, and so on. What on earth is the problem??? Is it the human rights act??? Is it 'elfn'safety??? Is it Trevor Phillips?? Is it the MCOGB??? It is getting beyond belief, to the point where it is becoming a laughing stock.

It was started by people who hate and despise the indigenous British people.

Somehow they have not only wriggled their way into positions of power in all our institutions, they have managed to persuade the selfsame British people to elect them to Parliament and onto local authorities.

Don't fly BA if I can help it...certainly not on long haul flights to and from SE Asia I will certainly be following Ann Widdecombe's example and voting with my purse.

I agree with Annabel, there are many more important things to argue about than a silver cross. BA should be worrying about carbon emmissions and passenger safety not their staff's jewelry.

I'm afraid I think this row has been blown a little out of proportion. BA have a uniform worn by its staff and there is a "no jewellery" rule. I sometimes wear a Star of David but if I were in a job with a uniform and a "no jewellery" requirement I would be perfectly happy to wear it underneath my clothing. I think this is different from items of clothing that have to be worn by particular religions, for example the hijab or the Sikh turban.
I have to say that on occasions I am afraid to wear my Star of David openly on display in public - but sadly that is for other reasons!

BA has been stupid about the cross issue as they were with the painting by numbers tailfins which so irritated Mrs Thatcher. However I would never ever envisage not flying BA unless there was a British alternative. Apart from the fact that they are generally a very good airline it will be you and me paying through our taxes for the unemployment benefit of former staff if they start to make losses. I would suggest that as Conservatives we try and buy British every time we can.

I agree with you Malcolm. I have to say I don't like "boycott" campaigns anyway - I like to make my own individual choices about what services I use/what I choose to buy or not buy etc. and I don't like to feel I am being told by other people - for whatever reason.

I try to aviod BA. It is generally more expensive, the check-in queues are ridiculous and the stewardesses are uglier than ever.

I think this is different from items of clothing that have to be worn by particular religions, for example the hijab or the Sikh turban.

Sally, this is a misconception. Muslim women are told nowhere in the Qur'an or the Hadiths that the hijab, or any head covering, is compulsory; the stipulation is that women 'must dress modestly'. And Sikh men are increasingly viewing the example set by Guru Nanak as cultural attire. These items may, therefore, be as much considered 'ornamental adornment' as a silver cross.

The absurdity is that under BA's uniform regulations, they would have to permit their employees to wear 10-inch long Bishops' crosses, but not unobtrusive crosses the size of a 5p piece.

There may, indeed, be far more important issues to talk about, but atention to the small things is also required before they become large things like statute law.

I think your post says more about you than anything else TFA Tory. I went to a TFA event last week and spoke to several members who were embarrased by some of your posts.Having seen this today I sympathise with them.

It wouldn't have happened when Lord King was in charge.

Cranmer, re your post @12:11 - You may well be right in what you say but I've never got a straight answer as to whether Muslim women HAVE to be veiled. Some say that it is nowhere in the Koran, others cite examples of where The Prophet has called upon women to be veiled. If someone here who is Muslim could kindly clarify for us, I for one would be grateful!

Sally, Muslims are divided on this; there is no authoritative interpretation of the Qur'anic exhortation to 'dress modestly' - that is the phrase used by Mohammed directly from the Arabic.

While the Taleban of Afghanistan enforce the burkha (an entire 'tent' of covering), Saudi Arabia is content with the niqab ('veil'), others the hijab, and still others nothing at all. 'Modesty' is either culturally enforced by an external agent, or left to an individual's conscience. Asking 'a Muslim' to be authoritative on this is as pointless as requesting an authoritative statement on whether Christians should wear a cross or a crucifix (which is frequently a cultural Protestant/Catholic division).

BA will, of course, acquiesce to the demands of an ethnic minority, for fear of accusations of 'racism'.

Malcolm, I have had several dreadful experiences with BA, especially with officious staff who take little or no care with their appearance. Standards have slipped badly and I was letting off steam.

Thank you for explaining that,Cranmer. You clearly have studied various religions in detail and I am interested in your explanations and views on this subject. As a matter of interest can you explain more about the Protestant/Catholic view on whether a cross or a crucifix should be worn?

Actually, I don't much care what it says in the Koran. I don't object to people wearing turbans, headscarves or skullcaps, or bangles or crosses, even if my heart is not necessarily filled with joy when I see them doing it. I do object to people concealing their faces in public, whether that's by a hood, a veil, a burka, a balaclava, a scarf wrapped round the face or a nylon stocking over the head.

In fact I'm one of the hardline minority who does believe that it should be a public order offence to do so, with certain exemptions, which would not include the veils in question. New York City has a law on this, and we should have a similar but much more stringent law:


"Anti-Mask: New York Penal Law § 240.35(4)


New York’s anti-mask law criminalizes the wearing of masks or disguises by three or more persons in a public place unless done in connection with a "masquerade party or like entertainment," after obtaining a permit to wear masks from the police or other appropriate authorities. The courts have defined "like entertainment" as "social gatherings, dances, and performances that involve masks or costumes," Under the current law, wearing a bandana tied around one’s face falls within the scope of the mask prohibition. The courts have held that the anti-mask law furthers the important governmental interest of deterring violence and facilitating the apprehension of wrong-doers who seek to hide their identity."

I know that I'm in a small minority on this at present, but that will change when there's a terrorist outrage involving burkas or veils, or a major riot with the worst rioters wearing scarves over their faces to prevent identification, like this:


Certainly, Sally.

Although the divisions are no longer as apparent as they once were, it was considered that the cross/crucifix decision was indicative of one's beliefs on the atonement.

For Catholics, the Sacrifice of the Mass, the perpetual re-enactment of the death of Jesus (the bread and wine undergo 'transubtiation' into the literal body and blood of Christ), brought the suffering dimension to the fore as an object of meditation. The sacrifice of Christ is an on-going and ever-present part of their interpretation of the theory of atonement; the means by which sin is dealt with. It is for this reason that the crucifix will usually be displayed in Roman Catholic churches quite prominently.

At the Reformation, this was considered idolatry, not least by Calvin and Melanchthon, amongst others, for whom Communion was not a re-enactment but a symbolic reminder. To them, Jesus had paid the price 'once and for all' (Hebrews 10:14), and was now risen in victory. Any allusion to an ongoing need for sacrifice was considered to undermine the notion of salvation by faith, and (generally) Protestants opted for the victory over death symbolised by the empty cross rather than the bloody crucifix. The Church of England, for political reasons, opted for a via media in this; some have crucifixes, some crosses, and others nothing at all.

This had cultural expression in faith schools, and what believers chose to wear around their necks. As I say, it is largely now irrelevant; the cross symbol has become little more than a trinket on a par with a rabbit's foot.

"I have to say I don't like "boycott" campaigns anyway - I like to make my own individual choices about what services I use/what I choose to buy or not buy etc. and I don't like to feel I am being told by other people - for whatever reason."

The good thing about boycotts is that they are a non-statist alternative to government regulation. If you don't like what a firm is doing, don't buy from them, don't run crying to the government to sort it out for you. That said I have no time for the sorts of people who try to emotionally blackmail and badger people into boycotts.

"I think this is different from items of clothing that have to be worn by particular religions, for example the hijab or the Sikh turban."

Sikh men aren't required to wear Turbans. They're required to not get their hair cut and the Turban is a traditional and generally sensible way of keeping it together, which is why I believe the Turban is permitted in French public buildings.

Thank you Cranmer - very interesting!

Richard @ 13:44 I know what you mean but my words were influenced by the experience I had yesterday afternoon when shopping in Harrods I came out only to run slap into an unpleasant, vociferous group of animal rights protesters demonstrating against the fur trade and urging shoppers to "Boycott Harrods" (I quote from their placard). I was really extremely angry (not least because I am unashamedly happy to wear fur, leather and sheepskin) and my thoughts ran along the lines of "How dare they tell me what and what not to buy!"

Sikh men aren't required to wear Turbans. They're required to not get their hair cut and the Turban is a traditional and generally sensible way of keeping it together, which is why I believe the Turban is permitted in French public buildings.

Yes, and no. Sikh men are not 'required' to wear turbans, not least because they have no Scripture as a 'Word of God' issuing any such directive; the Guru Granth Sahib is a devotional work, not a book of 'law'. Your further observation is, however, correct. They are exhorted not to cut their hair - it is one of the '5Ks', and the turban became 'a sensible way of keeping it all together' - a cultural phenomenon. If what you say on complusion were true, all those Sikh gentlemen who do not wear a turban would cease to be 'Sikh'. This is not the case. They have adpated an Indian cultural phenomenon to a Western context.

And turbans are not permitted in French government buildings. Sikhs students, for example, are requitred to settle for something approaching a 'hair net' to 'keep it all together'. By and large they have accepted this, recognising that there is no 'divine command' to wear a turban. If this were not the case, the French government would be open to prosecution for manifesting religious discrimination against Muslims wearing the hijab. This is not the case. All religious symbols are now banned from government buildings and those who frequent them. The prohibition is applied equally to all faiths.

Interestingly, Sikhs have been exempt from wearing hard hats on building sites for many years. Cultural values prevailing over health and safety it appears.

I do find it strange how the British have gotten themselves into this mess.

We ran an Empire in India for over 300 years and not until we left India did Muslims get a separate state of East and West Pakistan.

Until then Christian officers had commanded Hindu and Muslim and Catholic, Protestant, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic and Sikh soldiers through two world wars.............having fought Sikh Wars, Gurkha Wars, and dealt with The Indian Mutiny.

It is only when the Left PC crowd started playing with the social fabric and structures than this convoluted mess of trying to make the majority look like just another minority came about.

One day the British will stop bending over backwards, decide it is their house, and lay down a few ground rules before they get conned into surrendering the keys to the door

I far prefer flying with Virgin Atlantic than the former state owned airline BA. In my experience I have found all the Virgin staff (from booking, to check in, to cabin crew) far more helpful than BA staff. In addition on the occasions when I have had to make a booking they have been cheaper as well. So why should I fly BA?

Boycotting an airline because the cabin crew cannot wear a crucifix is absurd. There are much more important issues to worry about. Rules are rules. No one is forcing these people to work for BA.

The Guru Granth Sahib is surely viewed as the living Guru and Head of Sikhism not as "a devotional work". The Turban is also more than a cultural way of keeping it together - the 10th Guru in providing the bana or proper mode of dress included the turban and raised this above a mere cultural attachment to be part of the spiritual dedication to the religion. As a Sikh friend explained it keeps divine energy within the individual and protects from psychic negativity. So while there is no divine commandment the Turban is an integral part of a Sikh's identity - and in Sikhism identity is key to being a Sikh.

There are people of Sikh descent who cut their hair but I understand they cease to be Sikhs by doing so - the same does not apply to Turbans as the Rishi knot is still there but enforcing bans on turban wearing does go further into religious intolerance than I think a state shold go.

Mr Ted,

The Guru Granth Sahib is indeed considered a living guru and treated as such, but His Grace assures you that this book is not considered as 'divine revelation' in the biblical sense, and neither is the guru in any sense God, for he is Waheguru, and has no 'prophets' of the Judeo-Christian genre.

The book is devotional, not prescriptive. It is for enlightening meditation, not dogmatic instruction. It is only as sikhs have become Sikhs that there has been the propensity to view the book as somehow equivalent in regard to the Torah, the Bible, or the Qur'an. This was never the intention, and Guru Nanak wrote much that contradicts such a view of religion. To be a sikh was to be a creative disciple of truth; to be a Sikh has become competition with the Muslims and Christians to define, dogmatise and codify; everything antithetical to Nanak's teachings. Sikh 'identity' is inseparable from ethnic insecurities. While you have a Sikh friend who has informed you of your learning, His Grace has very many, and frequently enjoys their company in the Gurdwara for langar. The assertion that men who cut their hair have ceased to be Sikh would be considered offensive; it would be akin to the assertion that Catholics who use contraception have ceased to be Catholic.


I bow to your learning and recognise that Sikhism in it's purest sense is about the search for enlightenment and truth.

However as with most faiths sects have developed (as was the sorry case with my own Holy Catholic Church when you yourself stepped off the true path) and in these reformed versions the articles of faith have gained a significance, perhaps not intended, which in my view are to many Sikhs what custom and practice as regards dress are to Hassidic Jews.

As a conservative I do not see it as the right of a state to proscribe costumes except where these cause exceptional offence, are unsafe in certain situations or seriously hinder someone in the performance of their duties.

I believe in tolerance and flexibility so that exceptions should be considered where the introduction of laws would impinge on existing and religious practices - Sikhs were British citizens before legislation on such as crash helmets were introduced and for those where it is a matter of religious piety and danger to others is minimal (the victim is most likely the wearer) exemption is equitable. I feel the same about imposition of laws on religious foundations, schools and churches which strike at those peoples articles of beliefs.

On the substance of this post I am in agreement that BA is wrong to discriminate against the wearing of a cross whilst allowing other religiously associated items from other faiths.

The woman hasn't been told she can't wear the cross she's been told it has to be under her neck scarf. The only exceptions BA makes for religious clothing/accessories is for items that cannot be reasonably covered like turbans. That's common sense not a double standard.

Boycotting BA is an overreaction to say the least.

No, given that some employees are permitted to display their religious symbols in a highly visible manner, the common sense approach would have been to turn a blind eye to a fairly unobtrusive and inoffensive cross. Any manager worth his salt would have recognised that in this case strict application of the rule would have an unreasonable impact on this individual and potentially adverse consequences for the business, and quietly ignored it. I'm inclined to agree with the author of the lead letter in the Telegraph today, that legally BA doesn't have a leg to stand on.

As a Catholic can i just back A. Widdecombe 100% and say what a totally zany world of double standards and PC bending-over-backwards we now inhabit. That sikh people can wear a turban , and muslim people a headscarf thingy but christians cannot wear a tiny cross is the undoubted limit. Just how much do these PC policy makers hate us Brits? They plainly love the multiethnic communities , particularly the more colourful brands of belief. But woe betide you if you happen to subscibe to what has historically been the predominant religious belief in this country! what a stupid way of looking at things. A revolution now , please!

>>I try to aviod BA. It is generally more expensive, the check-in queues are ridiculous and the stewardesses are uglier than ever.<<

The ugliest ones are on Lufthansa. They look like Irma Grese.

Try El Al for worldbeating queues.

The ugliest ones are on Lufthansa. They look like Irma Grese.

Since Irma Grese was a blue-eyed blonde known as "The Beautiful Beast" you comment falls rather flat.............I suggest you direct your attention to the male stewards who are perhaps more amenable to you.

Let Us F The Hostesses And Not Say Anything is the expression of the acronym LUFTHANSA.........which employs some very attractive young women who are unfortunately married to absent husbands

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