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Woman loses fight to wear cross
20th November 2006
Theos has responded to the news that a British Airways (BA) employee has lost her fight to openly wear a cross necklace at work at Heathrow.
Nadia Eweida, 55, of Twickenham, has been on unpaid leave since her bosses told her she could not visibly wear her cross at the check-in counter. Today she met with the airline bosses and found out that she had lost her appeal.
BA denied it had banned the wearing of crosses and said Ms Eweida had a right to a second appeal. It said its uniform policy stated that such items could be worn if concealed underneath the uniform.
Speaking on the BBC, Paul Woolley, Director of Theos, said:
"We live in a multi-cultural, multi-faith society. In such a society, the values of equality and diversity should be foundational. It is both surprising and disappointing that BA has chosen not to respect these values."
“During Nadia’s meeting with BA today, they told her that they respected her faith and accepted the cross was not jewellery, but would be standing by their original decision. This seems unjust, given the fact that people of other faiths are allowed to wear visible religious symbols, such as turbans, bangles and the hijab.”
“In the end this would appear to be a simple matter of religious liberty. In a liberal democracy, we should generously tolerate reasonable expressions of faith in public. It is difficult to see how wearing a tiny cross could put passengers at risk or negatively impact the level of service that they receive. Society flourishes when faith is given the space to do so, but we diminish ourselves when we are intolerant and try and exclude it. I hope that BA will think again and that common sense will prevail.”