Discrimination Against Non-Muslims in U.S. Must Stop
Monday, September 21, 2009 - Tawfik Hamid
Upon landing in the United States on Sept. 13 after speaking at a conference in Poland, I noticed that the first picture welcoming international visitors at Washington Dulles International Airport was of two Muslim women wearing the hijab. The photo also portrayed a mosque and the crescent as a symbol for Islam. I have noticed on other visits to the airport that the same photo is in the same position at Window A1 of the immigration hall, where travelers show customs officials their documentation.
I have checked the other pictures in the hall to see if other religions are represented in the same manner. To my surprise, there are none. The only religious symbols that exist in such a manifest manner are Islamic.
This situation raises an important question: Why don't airport authorities acknowledge other faiths as well? If the answer is that Muslims are a minority, then why aren’t other religious minorities acknowledged? Aren't they humans who deserve respect for their faiths, too? Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists are also minorities in the U.S., yet their faiths are neither recognized nor respected by the airport authorities to the same extent that the Muslim faith is.
It is not only unfair but also discriminatory when Islam is the ONLY faith that is respected in such a manner, while other faiths are ignored.