A British airline has prohibited its employees from carrying Bibles, using crucifixes or St. Christopher Medals, on flights to Saudi Arabia in order “not to offend” Muslims in that country.
British Midland International has also established that female flight attendants should walk two steps behind their male colleagues and should cover themselves from head to toe with an abaya, a traditional Muslim overgarment, the Mirror newspaper of London reported.
BMI officials explained the decision saying the Islamic kingdom's strict laws – enforced by religious police – prohibit public practice of Christianity and figures of animals.
An airline employee who asked not to be named told the Mirror: "It's outrageous that we must respect their beliefs but they're not prepared to respect ours."
The employee said his grandmother gave him a crucifix shortly before she died that he wears at all times.
"It's got massive sentimental value and I don't see why I have to remove it," he said.
The employees' union has proposed staff members be able to opt out of the flights, but the airline says the only option is to transfer from overseas staff to domestic flights, which could mean a loss of about $30,000 a year in wages.
About 40 staff members have filed complaints since the route began in September.