Durban – Penny Appeal SA is standing by its CEO, Shahnaaz Paruk, after she was allegedly religiously profiled by staff at the OR Tambo International Airport.
Paruk had been travelling with a colleague following a work trip when she was stopped.
Speaking on Salaam Media, Paruk said they had checked in their bags and after she walked through the metal detector, she was stopped and informed that she needed to be searched.
Paruk said she informed the person that the detector had not gone off and was unsure why there was a need for her to be searched.
“They said I needed to be searched because I was wearing a doek. For a moment, I didn’t know whether to laugh because I said twice that it didn’t beep," Paruk said.
She said a second airport staffer informed her that she needed to be search or she could forego the search if she removed her doek.
“I said that was not right and wanted to know why. He said it’s the religion. He said if I wear a doek, they must search me. The moment the word ‘religion’ was used, I was shocked,” she said.
Paruk said to be subjected in this manner was shocking.
She said she was extremely disappointed by the ordeal.
Penny Appeal SA said it was aware of the incident.
“We are aware that Ms Paruk may act accordingly and will provide her the support required to ensure the matter is addressed appropriately through the correct channels.
“This incident, and other similar ones, highlight the many issues of discrimination against race, religion, culture and socio-economic status faced by communities here at home, and across the world, that Penny Appeal South Africa assist, by providing psycho-social support education, relief and humanitarian aid.
“We hope to achieve our goal, be the voice and change-makers for those who may not be heard, and to be the medium to share these stories to our supporters and donors,” the organisation said in a statement.
Earlier this month, a Muslim woman was subjected to a full body search at the same airport. Nadia Adam shared her ordeal on her social media.
Airports Company SA spokesperson, Samukelo Khambule, said they reached out to Adam following her post.
According to the Citizen, ACSA is beefing up security at all its airports following security threats in recent weeks.