Woman claims Greyhound denied her travel because of burqa

Jacqueline Pasha attempted to travel by Greyhound to Arkansas in December, but she didn’t succeed. And Greyhound acknowledges this. The story becomes fuzzy, however, in the details.

Pasha was wearing her burqa when she tried to board the bus. According to Pasha, a staff member at the terminal said she looked scary. Pasha then proceeded to request that she be checked in a room separate from the main area, but the employee (the one who allegedly used the word ‘scary’ to describe her appearance) wouldn’t do it, citing security concerns.

Although Greyhound denies any form of discrimination in this case, Pasha is steadfastly seeking justice. She’s lodged a complaint with the Department of Human Rights by the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

“I am shocked that this happened in Chicago,” Pasha said. “I am not the only Muslim woman wearing a burqa out here.”

I realize that this kind of discrimation is much more widespread than I’d like to believe, but Chicago? Greyhound? Come on! Lets hope this one was a giant miscommunication rather than yet another reason to believe we’re not as openminded, as a whole, as we advertise.

[Thanks, Northwestern.edu]

[photo by Vanessa Brown]

America’s Next Top Model, Afghani-style

Imagine models dressed prudishly in jackets and long pants strutting their stuff on a low-budget TV would hardly seem the stuff of controversy to most of us, but in the Middle East, it has the potential to raise a few eyebrows. It’s true — a version of America’s Top Model has now hit the most unlikely of places: Afghanistan. Of all the bits of American culture to adopt, they just had to pick that one. Yep, we’re so proud.

So I’m wondering — does this version of the hit show include the characteristic catfights? The verbal backlash from Tyra? No, they don’t need criticism from each other or the judges — technically, the show directly violates the teachings of Islam. But in forward-thinking Mazar-i-Sharif, few objected to the program — particularly the young folks.

Still, it’s a step ahead for this zealously conservative country, and I guess on some level it’s nice that girls in Afghanistan are being recognized for their beauty — after all, Americans didn’t write the book on beauty.