Wednesday, March 11, 2009

When Does A Rule Go to Far?

A Muslim woman was forced to do her banking in the back room of the institution because the head scarf she was wearing violated the company’s “no hats, hoods or sunglasses” policy, The Washington Post reported.

The 54-year-old Maryland woman was standing in line a few weeks ago waiting to deposit a check when an employee asked her to go to the back room, citing the new policy. The incident happened again last weekend, but this time, Kenza Shelley refused.

“I want to be served like everyone else,” Shelley told the employees. “There was so many people there, and I was embarrassed.”

The new policy started in December and was implemented to prevent armed robberies and identity theft, Tom Lyons, senior vice president for security at Navy Federal, told the Post.

“We want to be able to clearly identify who you are and make sure the transaction is safe,” Lyons said. “This is a policy that applies to everybody in the branch. She wasn’t singled out. ... We tried to accommodate her and help her with her transaction and move on.”

But, some say the policy is not acceptable and must be modified for religious reason.

“This may be the tip of the iceberg,” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told the Post. “There’s got to be a way to work it out so that this security concern does not lead to violations of constitutional rights.”

What do you think? The bank my wife and I use has the same policy. On my days off, if I have to go to the bank, I’m probably going to have a baseball cap on—after all, I am bald and the hat protects my head from getting sunburned. Should I refuse to remove my cap? Should I defy the rules and leave my sunglasses on?

I don’t have religious reasons to wear my hat. I wear the cap to protect my head. But, let’s think about this for a minute. Would an Amish man have an objection to the rule? Would he want to remove his hat if he entered a bank? Would he protest and make a scene? Or would he simply obey the rule and move on?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this one.


  1. This will be interesting to watch Steve. What about the nun with a habit? What about that Amish man? The other side of the coin is that person who walks in with the hood oversized and sun glasses on and says his religion is rap. As for the cap: I believe men should remove their hats inside buildings anyway. I wear a cowboy hat and always take it off when I do. Just a thought.

  2. Our bank was robbed late last year and a new sign appeared in the door: no hats, sunglasses or hoodies (in the "up" position). Everyone understood this. The sign is no longer there, but I always leave my hat in the car and take my sunglasses off just before entering anyway.

    QUite frankly, I'm a bit tired of everyone spouting their "rights". Of course, right now, it isn't what I think of as "my rights" being questioned. Then again, I have a pretty good sense of civic duty/responsibility and am usually not full of pride to tout my rights.

    Yada, yada, yada.

  3. The only way to not discriminate or target anyone is to treat everyone by the same rules. Period. Otherwise, we'll have a whole new line of atire that robbers can wear while committing a crime.

    There's always the drive-thru teller or ATM to handle your banking transactions.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I can't wait to read what you have written.