Do body scanners violate religious laws?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-09-2001
Do body scanners violate religious laws?
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 2:13pm

March 3, 2010


Jews, Muslims worry body scanners violate religious laws

By Omar Sacirbey

(RNS) Canadian lawyer Kerry Gearin is planning to fly to Washington, D.C., this summer for a conference on Islamic family law, but the full-body scanners being deployed in some U.S. airports make her wonder if she’ll be forced to leave her modesty at home.

“When I saw the pictures, I thought, it’s too much information,” said Gearin, a former atheist who said she “reverted” to Islam a few years ago.

Concerns about the grainy body images produced by the scanners prompted the 18-member Fiqh Council of North America to issue a fatwa, or religious edict, which said the scanners violate Islamic law. Muslims, the fatwa said, should instead request a pat-down.

“It is a violation of clear Islamic teachings that men or women be seen naked by other men and women. Islam highly emphasizes `haya’ (modesty) and considers it part of faith,” the edict said.

But it’s not just Muslims who are concerned.

Agudath Israel, an Orthodox Jewish umbrella group, has told lawmakers that scanners should only be used on passengers who had failed metal detectors. In a letter to Congress, the group called full-body imaging “offensive, demeaning, and far short of acceptable norms of modesty” within Judaism and other faiths.

Even Pope Benedict XVI has weighed in, however obliquely, telling Italian airport workers on Feb. 20 that “the primacy of the person and attention to his needs” must always be respected, although some said Benedict could well have been calling for improved customer service.

The scanners—revived after a Nigerian Muslim attempted to blow up a Delta flight on Christmas Day in Detroit—are the latest clash between religious sensitivity and national security. Some religious groups say the scanners are forcing an uncomfortable choice between the two.

(article continues...)





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iVillage Member
Registered: 02-18-2006
Thu, 03-04-2010 - 3:39pm
They should request a pat-down instead?

"'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on th