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12-Year-Old Girl 'Shaken Up' After Being Forced To Take Off Her Hijab At Air Canada Gate


Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images; Sabreen_magdy/Twitter

Fatima Abdelrahman is a 12 year-old nationally ranked squash player.

She was chosen to compete on the U.S. junior squash team, an honor that sent her to Toronto, Canada.

But her joy over her accomplishment was spoiled by an Air Canada gate agent.


As HuffPost Canada reported, Fatima passed through airport security in San Francisco, California, but when she got to the Air Canada gate, the male gate agent told her to remove her hijab before she could board the plane.

"The Air Canada agent told me to remove my scarf because in my passport photo I wasn't wearing a scarf. [The passport photo] was [taken] a long time ago."

Fatima explained she had to keep her hijab on in public for religious reasons, and asked why she needed to be checked again after already clearing official airport security. Fatima had never been asked to remove her hijab at the gate on previous trips.

Fatima's sister Sabreen said:

"He was just like, 'You have to take it off,' he didn't really address the question."
"Obviously she wasn't going to take it off in front of him so they … took her to a corner. It wasn't right in public but it also wasn't in a closed room."

A female Air Canada agent arrived.

12 year-old Fatima said:

"I told her, 'I feel like this is an open space. Is there like a room?' and she said, 'No, no, no, this is fine, no one can see you, take it off'."

After Fatima removed her hijab for fear of missing her flight and not being able to find her team, she said gate agents glanced at her hair and did not compare her with her passport photo. She was then allowed to board the plane and join her teammates and coaches.

The 12 year-old was traveling without her parents or sister for the first time and relayed what happened to them as soon as she was able.

Her sister Sabreen said:

"She's a strong girl. I think she's just trying to have a good time...You know, have a good time with her teammates."

Sabreen shared the incident on Twitter to ask Air Canada why they took the actions they did with her younger sister.

Air Canada responded to Sabreen's Twitter post (misidentifying Fatima as her daughter instead of her sister).

Sabreen said all future correspondence from Air Canada was through private emails.

Air Canada wrote:

"We recognize you and your sister's disappointment with the identification check that was done for her travel to Canada. Air Canada must comply with Canadian laws and regulations, which require us to compare a passenger's entire face with the photograph shown on the travel document used prior to boarding the aircraft."
"Should one of our passengers wear religious or cultural head wear, as many do, we recognize the importance of respecting their right to privacy and any necessary identification check is to be done discretely and in a private area."

However Fatima's full face was visible.

Only her hair was obscured by her hijab. She was also not taken to a private area even though she asked to be several times.




The girls' father Magdy disputed Air Canada's explanation as the same airline did not require Fatima remove her hijab at Pearson airport for her return flight to the USA.

He wrote to Air Canada:

"Fatima just returned back yesterday and was not asked to remove her scarf at Pearson Airport, so Air Canada either broke the Canadian law [at Pearson] or was racist on Thursday, which one is it?"

He added that other passengers were not required to remove hats or sunglasses that obscured their faces. Magdy asked Air Canada for an apology for Fatima and her U.S. Squash teammates, as well as changes to Air Canada's boarding procedures.

Magdy Abdelrahman also asked Air Canada to donate money to help the victims of the domestic terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas.

He explained the reason for the donation request as:

"While I obviously am not directly blaming Air Canada for that tragedy, what your agent did at [San Francisco International Airport] is a seed for hate-spreading that needs to be stopped at all levels."

Air Canada responded with a message addressed to Fatima:

"On behalf of Air Canada, I would like to apologize for letting you down and leaving you disappointed after boarding your flight at the airport in San Francisco… I agree that this could have been handled better and I want to personally assure you that we are using your feedback to ensure improvements are made."

No mention was made of the donation request in their response.

But was Air Canada following Canadian law as they originally claimed?

A check with another airline revealed no such policy.

"WestJet complies with the Secure Air Travel Regulations which prior to boarding, requires an air carrier to verify the identity of all guests and determine if they appear to be 18 years of age or older. A guest is not required to remove headwear if their face is completely visible and their age and likeness to their identification can be verified."

A check with the United States' Transportation Security Administration also contradicted the Air Canada claim.

And the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA) said airlines are not required to screen passengers under Canadian law. That responsibility falls to airport security before passengers gain access to gate areas.

According to CATSA, under their policies:

"Travelers may keep their head coverings on during the screening process."
"CATSA knows that there can be sensitive situations when screening head coverings worn for religious or medical reasons. Screening Officers are trained to recognize these situations and ensure that passengers are treated with discretion and sensitivity."

Fatima won her matches despite the incident.

About the problems with Air Canada, the 12 year-old said:

"It does frustrate me and it really does make me angry."

Her sister Sabreen added:

"I didn't want her to go through that... There was no reason for her to be overwhelmed or stressed out that she couldn't find her team ... on her first time traveling."

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When you know your kids backwards and forwards, this is the best tool in your arsenal.

Getting our kids to listen to us is not always the easiest of tasks. They're willful and stubborn, but we've got a mighty weapon they are rarely prepared for: reverse psychology. Getting them to convince themselves to want to do something against their own initial intentions takes some work and a whole lot of creativity, but a little sneaky manipulation goes a long way. Here are some clever parents' tricks that are definitely worth taking notes on.

Redditor u/LeanderD Asks:

Parents of reddit, what's your best example of reversed psychology on your kids that actually worked?

He Floated His Idea Through A Back Channel

Giphy

Wanted to name my boat. Anything I would think of was dismissed as stupid by my 13 year old son. After deciding on a name, I confided to a male friend my son liked. Made my friend suggest the name as though it was his idea. My son thought the name was perfect. Done.

calypsodweller

We Always Want What We Can't Have

One of my best friends through childhood used to be punished with no salad if she misbehaved. She cherishes salad now and would always try to eat as much as possible during school lunch. Coincidentally, her now husband used to be punished with no books, it had the same effect. I think it's hilarious that they'd be hitting the salad bar and library like some black market their narc parents couldn't reach hahaha.

cookiearthquake

A Deceit That's A Cut Above The Rest

Giphy

Don't know if this counts, but, at my high school (private, boys only) in the 1960's, they made a big deal about how long your hair was, and would occasionally order a boy to go home and "get a haircut".

I thought it was stupid, until years later, a master confided to me at a reunion that the policy was deliberate. The school figured we'd spend so much energy rebelling about hair length, that we would ignore other aspects of teenage rebellion. (Not?) Surprisingly, they were mostly right.

FrankDrakman

Damn! That's smart. Wow.

fangxx456

Oh they don't like long hair?

I'll show them. I'll grow my hair out as lon- what?! No I don't want to go "party"? I gotta try out this horse shampoo.

DankeyKang11

The Forbidden Book

Hi I was a victim,

There was a forbidden book that I was not allow to read on the shelf. My parents said I could only read it if I behave myself.

It was summer holidays and I was playing games all day (after 6 hrs of summer homework). One day I was home alone and had the opportunity to grabbed it. I read like half of it in one go. It was 5000 years of Chinese history.

Safe to say I was bamboozled.

oddstodd

Flowers Of The Queen

My parents always told me my broccoli were the flowers of the queen and that I really shouldn't eat them, or else the queen would get very upset! I, of course, ate the whole broccoli in a few seconds.

Subwoofy

I'm telling the queen and she's gonna be pissed

draculacletus

Sleeping Beauty

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I taught my kids when they were toddlers that no amount of yelling, shaking or hitting can wake a sleeping adult. The only thing that works is a gentle hug and/or a nice kiss on the cheek.

Edit: Probably needed some more details for the reverse psychology aspect to be clear. It went something like this - Step one, tell the kids I'm going to sleep and nothing they do will wake me (head buried face down is the safest position). Step two, after the initial onslaught dies down pretend to awaken on your own. Tell them you got a bit of nap left in you and nothing can wake you, especially not hugs and kisses.

DrMethusael

Holy sh*t...if my daughter woke me up like this I would buy her a pony.

All-Seeing_Elon

I am saving this comment because this will save lives if I ever have kids, stg.

smerter

A Walk In Someone Else's Shoes.

Split custody with my ex. When my son was around 10, he visited two weekends a month. I was waiting tables and didn't have a huge amount to spend, but he was so needy from divorce (and I'm not blaming him, it was ugly), he begged constantly for MORE when he was with me. Whatever more was, it didn't matter... he'd be eating ice cream cone and begging for teriyaki.

I finally realized that he just felt empty, and getting MORE whatever from me wasn't filling him up. His next visit I handed him $100 in cash and told him it was our food/fun budget for 3 days and two nights, and he was in charge of it. I bought him his own wallet to carry. We figured out how many times we were going to eat and what we were going to do, and he paid. He got to keep whatever money he had left...thought he was rich...then realized just how much everything cost. Well. Shoe on other foot then. If we had no money for food, we ate leftovers - and I didn't contribute more to pot. After a few weekends of running short or not getting something he actually wanted because he was foolish with funds, he started to really think about how to spend that money. He budgeted and kept to his budget. And a few times he actually went home with a little cash for his private stash.

Many years later, he thanked me for this. It really changed the way he thought about money and love.

Augumenti

This Is Worth Giving A Shot

Took my 3 year old son to one of those doctor's visits where he was going to get a shot. He was worried about the shot on the whole drive over, almost to the point of tears. We get to the doctor's office and a nurse subtly lets me know that my son is not just scheduled for 1 shot, but 5 of them in the same visit.

I turn to my son with an exaggerated smile and tell him, "Good news! They figured out how to take that one big shot you were going to get and instead break it up into these 5 little tiny shots so it won't hurt nearly as much!"

You could see the relief wash over his face. He stopped squirming and relaxed completely. He took the first shot and even smiled and said "It's true! The small ones don't hurt!"

We actually made it through the third shot before the effect wore off and reality kicked in. Still... I counted it as a victory.

blackbird77

Put This To The Taste

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My mom would tell me she only lets me eat soup after candy and she'd only buy me candy that i didn't like. After a few times, i stopped trying and begged her to let me eat soup first. She gave me a smirk and told me go ahead. This doesn't sound as evil as it was. But trust me i suffered.

turkeypr0

So what was the candy?

Poster_Main

Mint chocolate, raisins, stuff like that. I still hate them to this day. Who the f--- thought while eating chocolate "hmm id like some tooth paste with this."

turkeypr0

This is Truckin' Awesome

Mum had sworn a bit around the house.

When 4, while out at the supermarket, I said F word really loudly.

Very quickly and intently, she asked if I had just said "Truck" and said that was a bad word and not to ever say Truck like that again.

I thought that was the bad word so used that when being naughty.

GodOfTheThunder

The "Silly Mom" Routine

The "Silly Mom" routine.

My kid, and a few other kids I've known, would balk at getting ready to go. I'd grab their clothes and say, "Well, if you won't put on your clothes, I guess I'll put on your clothes. Cute shirt, by the way! Does it go on my foot?"

NO!

"Does it go on my head?"

NO! IT GOES ON ME!

"Oh, that's right, thanks! So, it must go on your legs, right?"

NO!

"I just can't figure this out! Where does this adorable shirt go?"

[kid grabs shirt and puts it on] ON MY TUMMY! SILLY MOM!

"Oh, thank you so much! Now what about these pants? Shirts go on tummies, so...the pants go on the tummy, too, right?"

NO!

[continue until kids have dressed themselves]

I would also do things like hand the kid my keys and say, "Alright, you're driving, I'll sit in the booster seat in back," attempt to feed the kid by putting a spoon up to his ear or his belly button, and attempt to put away his toys in the refrigerator.

insertcaffeine

Some Foot For Thought.

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My mum would always yell at us "if you don't do X, you have to go to bed without socks!"

I never wore socks anyway, and I'm ashamed to admit that this worked.

Splittsky

That would work really well on my son, or make him cry for a really long time... He's 3 and over the last few weeks has decided that he is fully unable to sleep without socks on.

PJQueen

Toddlers man. Completely unpredictable.

SheaRVA

I'm Greens With Envy

My mum had a friend that would put vegetables on her own plate and not the kids.

When the kids asked she would be reluctant to share, "that's grown up food. But I suppose I can let you have a little."

Her kids grew up loving vegetables.

I sat at the dinner table for 3 hours staring at the yucky cauliflower I refused to eat.

laik72

This reminds me of an instance when my child convinced my wife and myself to change our plans for dinner. We were in a grocery store to pick up something quick and easy to eat that we wouldn't have to prepare. Our daughter, wanted none of that, she demanded that she wanted a salad from the salad bar. We started to argue back, but then realized: "Our child demands that we feed her vegetables for dinner instead of a microwaved meal, why are we saying 'No?'"

We had salad for dinner that night.

Galaxy_Ranger_Bob

The Power Of Choice

I don't so much know if you would call it reverse psychology, but I didn't realize it until my dad told me this.

When there were chores that needed doing, he noticed if he asked me to mow the lawn, I would complain and procrastinate. But if he asked would I rather mow the lawn or wash the windows, I'd pick one and just get it done.

Shattered my brain when he told me when I was in my twenties. I use it when I'm coaching or baby sitting all the time and it almost never fails.

AppealToReason16

The Boy Who Cried 'Ouch'

Giphy

I've done this one with tens of kids. Any time a kid gets "hurt" (falls down on grass, gets gently hit in the face with a ball, etc.) instead of stopping the activity to pick the kid up and see if they're ok you just scoot them off to the side and resume. Within 10 seconds of not getting all the attention and seeing the fun is resuming they pop right back up and are magically healed.

This of course is only for the "injuries" that aren't actually injuries.

pedanticProgramer

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