A Modest Proposal: Avoid Travel

Yesterday morning I was at airport at five in the morning. After a grueling security line, I was instructed to walk through the infamous backscatter. I asked for a pat down instead, and was then subjected to…well, I don’t know what to call it. Something between a physical and a third date. The woman who—what is the correct term? felt me up? performed the search?—was employed by the TSA and is now intimately familiar with my butt seemed pretty angry that I had opted out of the backscatter.

It was ultimately not a particularly big deal—I didn’t feel violated, just embarrassed, more for the TSA employee than for me. But as it was happening, I was thinking about how immodest the whole situation was. And it turns out I’m not the only one. A Washington Post article explores how religious people with strong feelings about modesty have struggled with the backscatter and the pat-down, and how many are opting to drive rather than face these security measures:

Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a trip to the airport has been fraught for Muslims, who sometimes feel they are being profiled as potential terrorists because of their religion. The addition of full-body scanners, which many say violate Islam’s requirements of modesty, has increased the discomfort.

Muslims aren’t alone in their antipathy toward the new security measures. Followers of other religions, including Sikhs and some Orthodox Jews and evangelical Christians, also say the scanners and pat-downs make them uncomfortable or breach the tenets of their faiths.

But Muslim women have been particularly reluctant to subject themselves to the scanners, which reveal the contours of the human body in glaring detail.

The article mentions how the terrorists dressed in western clothing, but now anyone in traditional Muslim garb like a hijab gets stopped and aggressively searched. Hm. It seems we may have strayed a bit from that whole civil liberties thing…

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