Paris: Muslim airport workers lose clearances
Of course, they are claiming discrimination. “Muslim airport workers lose clearances,” by Jamey Keaten for Associated Press, with thanks to Drew:
PARIS – Authorities at Charles de Gaulle airport have stripped several dozen employees — almost all of them Muslims — of their security badges in a crackdown against terrorism, a government official said Friday.Four baggage handlers who lost their clearance filed a joint discrimination complaint this week, alleging they had been unfairly associated with terrorism because they are Muslims, their lawyers said. Some had been in their jobs for up to five years.
The baggage handlers and other employees have been barred from secure areas at the airport since February, Jacques Lebrot, an official who oversees the airport, told The Associated Press in an interview.
The cases were “linked to terrorism, of course,” he said, adding that the crackdown followed recommendations by France’s anti-terrorism coordination unit, UCLAT, as part of an 18-month investigation.
“You don’t strip people of their badges for small matters,” he said. The crackdown was part of heightened security in France, after terror attacks in Britain, Spain and the United States in recent years.
Lebrot, citing security reasons, declined to say whether the “several dozen” people — he would not specify how many — who lost their badges had been involved in specific plots.
“Mr. X or Y could have been suspected because corresponding facts … suggested he belonged to a sizable network,” Lebrot said, without elaborating. Others could have been stripped of the badges because they were “impressionable and manipulated” by such networks, he said….
In letters from the regional government office, the employees were told that they presented a “significant danger to airport security,” or had shown “personal behavior threatening airport security.”
Lawyers for those who lost their badges said that under police questioning, they were never told of the reasons they lost their badges — but repeatedly were asked about their religion.
“The link among these people is that either they are Arab — or practice their religion in a normal way,” said Eric Moutet, a lawyer for the four employees suing in administrative court. Authorities, he said, “are in essence asking people to prove they are not terrorists.”
They “practice their religion in a normal way.” Does that mean in a way that Osama bin Laden might consider normal? In a way that accords with mainstream teaching of all the schools of Islamic jurisprudence, all of which mandate warfare against unbelievers?