On a trip to the Middle East last month I discovered a clue on getting through security faster. In Frankfurt, just as I was being told to remove a loose sweater, the Muslim woman directly ahead of me was let through wearing a heavy, full length, full button front coat. Apparently her hijab signaled there was less chance she was hiding something dangerous on her person than my bare head indicated.
When I pointed out this disparity to security, they admitted it, but said there was nothing they could do. (What about frisking?)
Not to be outdone by the Germans, the French have a better system. Two months ago a friend passed through Paris on his way from the Middle East. The Arab Muslim screeners found out he was Palestinian, and while the other passengers were being heavily scrutinized, he got the “hail fellow well met” treatment. Smiles and sympathy replaced not only his walking through the metal detector, but exempted his backpack from the indignity of x-ray as well. Good thing he was not in the mood to blow up a plane that day.
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