Massachusetts School Bans Head Clothing

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From the “this is ironic” news department: a private college in the liberal state of Massachusetts has banned students from wearing certain head clothing items while on campus.

veilThe Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Services (MCPHS) issued a ban last fall prohibiting students from wearing veils other traditional Islamic attire. The school says that the ban was put in place as a security measure to protect students by making it easier to identify who should be on campus.

That move has the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR) crying foul, with the Boston Herald reporting that the organization views the school’s move as a violation of religious freedom generally and an attack against two co-eds specifically.

But MCPHS officials are not buying the objections of CAIR. The school says that they discussed its measure with members of the local Muslim community first as well as with the two affected female Muslim students. Everyone was in agreement that the ban was necessary, a move which enables safety officials to determine who is wearing mandatory college-issued identification.

CAIR has been in the news lately following the thwarted Christmas Day terrorist attack involving an al-Qaida follower from Nigeria. In response to the attack which was aimed at blowing up a Northwest Airlines (Delta) flight from Amsterdam, calls have been made by some to begin racially profiling passengers, particularly young Muslim men.

But CAIR insists that racial profiling would be a victory for terrorists as it “…can divert precious law enforcement resources from investigations of individuals who have been linked to terrorist activity by specific and credible evidence. It ignores the possibility that someone who does not fit the profile may be engaged in terrorism, or may be an unwitting accomplice to terrorism.”

Instead of profiling which is often based on skin color or a name, CAIR advises officials to first “look at behavior, not at faith or skin color. Then spend what it takes to obtain more bomb-sniffing dogs, to install more sophisticated bomb-detection equipment and to train security personnel in identifying the behavior of real terror suspects.”

In addition, CAIR advises a boost in “…training and detection equipment, clean up the inaccurate terror watch lists that have ballooned in the post-9/11 era and work the kinks out of an intelligence system that would let a person get on a plane to America even after his own father had notified security services about his disturbing behavior.”

So, is CAIR making much ado about nothing regarding MCPHS? That’s hard to say, but until the American Muslim community speaks out loudly and forcefully against jihad and al-Qaida, groups like CAIR are likely to find that not many people are sympathetic to their concerns.

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Photo Credit: Ruth Livingstone

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Categories: Campus News