The Washington Post
Jan 2, 2011
WASHINGTON — As Erum Ikramullah prepared to head to National Airport late last month for a flight out of Washington, she mulled two distasteful choices: the body scanner or the pat-down?
Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a trip to the airport has been fraught for Muslims, who sometimes think they are being unfairly scrutinized because of their religion. The addition of full-body scanners, which many say violate Islam’s requirements for modesty, has upped the stakes, especially for women.
Ikramullah, who is 29 and wears a headscarf, was reluctant to go through the new scanners, which reveal the contours of the human body in glaring detail.
In Islam, “a woman’s body and a man’s body are both pretty much private,” she said. “I choose to cover myself and dress in loose-fitting clothing so the shape of my body is not revealed to everyone in the street.”