The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on Anti-American Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma on Thursday expressed appreciation to the Oklahoma Bankers Association for ‘clarifying’ a security policy commonly referred to “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” used by many of the state’s banks.
(Gee, they are going to soften their rules on Muslim headgear, just when burqas and niqabs are becoming bank robbers’ favorite disguise)Tulsa WorldThe two groups along with the Oklahoma Conference of Churches recently requested a meeting with the OBA following an incident in which a Muslim woman was initially denied access to a branch of Valley National Bank in Tulsa and asked to remove her religious head scarf, or hijab, before entering. The bank cited the “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” policy to justify its actions.
“Our goal in meeting with the OBA was to use this unfortunate incident as a teaching moment about the different types of head coverings worn by Muslim women and by individuals of other faiths,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, in a written statement.
Elaine Dodd, the vice president of the OBA’s fraud division, noted that the “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” program hasn’t changed, but…….”If someone is wearing a burqa, which does cover most everything, then a female bank employee can go with them and have them raise the veil,” Dodd said. “We want to be inclusive to all customers. It’s just that it’s a learning curve for all of us, and we appreciate them talking to us about it.”
The OBA published two articles in its January 2013 trade publication, Oklahoma Banker, revisiting the “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” initiative and offering suggestions on how member banks could respect the religious requirements of customers without sacrificing security.
In one article, Mary Beth Guard, with the OBA compliance team, explains the difference among head coverings – the hijab, niqab and burqa – worn by Muslim women. The hijab covers all or part of the hair and is draped around the neck. “It should not interfere with your ability to match the person to a photo I.D. and there should be no reason to ask the customer to remove it,” the article says.
The niqab covers the face but leaves a narrow opening for the eyes, the article states. “In connection with opening an account or doing some other transaction where you need to ascertain identity, a female bank employee should ask that the Niqab be lifted in order to allow viewing of the face,” the article says. “This should be done as discreetly as possible and it should be done in an area where the viewing of the face will not be witnessed by males (unless they are related to the individual).”
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