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Thought for the day: So here you are standing in line at the airport and you see a few women, and a few children, who appear, by their manner of dress, to be followers of the Muslim faith. The boys all wear what could best be described as wearing “Western-style clothes” and were it not for the fact that they have jet black hair and more than just a healthy tan complexion might be taken for just another American kid. The girls, however, have what might be described as “robes”, articles of clothing that is layered and wrapped around them to disguise any semblance of the female form. This garment extends all the way to the floor or ground, depending on where they happen to be standing, in this case the shiny terrazzo floor of the airport terminal. The wrappings also extend skyward, and form what can best be described as “head gear” or “head covering” much like depictions of Mary, the Virgin who miraculously gave birth to God’s only child Jesus. For the most part the young girls’ faces are attractive with large brown eyes and that darker than tan but not quite black like many African Americans (and before you start screaming RACIST! YOU JUST SAID THEY WERE ATTRACTIVE BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT BLACK LIKE AFRICAN AMERICANS) THAT IS not…what I said. I said they had attractive faces, in large part because they had “large brown eyes” and other attractive features, features that would also be considered attractive in darker shades common in African Americans as well, so please…let me finish.

As you scan the group, the boys, the younger girls, your eyes light on the apparent leader of the group, the elder, the adult, who for reasons known only to her, has a mask or veil as part of her head gear, a color matched strip of cloth that extends from behind her ear on one side across her face over the bridge of her nose to her other ear (assuming she has two ears, because neither happens to be visible at the moment). This renders only one part of her face visible to the eyes, her eyes, also brown and attractive in an intriguing sort of way. Like a Christmas package that is wrapped leaving one to speculate what is in it, or in this case under it.

Now here is where it get’s interesting (at least to me). We are approaching the security podium with the TSA officer checking ID’s and boarding passes. He looks at your face, he looks at the ID card you hand him, he looks at the boarding pass, marks a few lines with his felt marking pen, and says something like, “Have a nice flight” which means you can go stand in another line to take off your shoes and belts, get x-rayed and whatever else they need to do to assure everybody’s safety.

But back to the podium. My first question: What does her ID picture look like? Does she wear the veil in it? Or is her face, now covered, also hidden behind a color matched piece of cloth? And if it is not….will the TSA officer expect this woman, a woman of deep religious convictions, I mean why else would she be clothed head to toe in a series of wraps? Will he expect her, ask that she, respectfully, lift the veil, so he can have a quick gander at her face, a quick look at her ID, and then allow her to go on her way. Answer: I did not see the card, but my companion informed me that yes, she did lift the veil for the comparison. I missed it because I was leaning over to my companion, my lovely wife, to ask her this very question which she promptly answered with a “Yes she did.” Was I a little disappointed? I don’t know, I probably would have averted my eyes to respect her privacy. That would be expected.

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