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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

BA Should Not Be Bullied Over Jewellery Ban, Especially by Government Ministers

British Airways are entitled to enforce a uniform ban on jewellery, and should not be bullied for doing so, especially by Government ministers, says the National Secular Society. The Society’s Executive Director Keith Porteous Wood said: “It is perfectly reasonable, and indeed sensible, for staff handling baggage to be prohibited from wearing jewellery over their uniforms. It is also understandable for front line staff with such an international clientele not to want employees to wear religious symbols. It is clear that employee Nadia Eweida is motivated by a wish to evangelise at work.

“This is the latest putsch by Christianity pretending to be a victim but in fact becoming much more aggressive, egged on by John Sentamu. Those putting pressure on BA are at pains to avoid acknowledging that BA are not banning the wearing of religious jewellery underneath uniforms or openly in other jobs, which Ms Eweida has been offered.

“It is completely inappropriate for Government ministers or politicians to interfere publicly in the internal affairs of a company and damage it commercially. Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw, a member of the Christian Socialist Movement, has praised a boycott of the airline. Rt Hon Peter Hain, Secretary of State for Wales has also weighed in against BA. It is not even as if a court has ruled against BA.

“This is not a religious issue as far as BA is concerned. Yet it has been turned into a religious confrontation by activists determined to push religion to the front line of British life, even though most people are indifferent to it.”


Published Wed, 22 Nov 2006