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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 October 2006, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
MP defends BA woman over cross
Nadia Eweida
Ms Eweida is planning to sue the airline
A woman suspended from her job at British Airways (BA) for wearing a crucifix in a row over dress code has been defended by her local MP.

Nadia Eweida, 55, rejected a BA compromise offer of a new job where she would not have to conceal her cross.

Lib Dem Twickenham MP Vince Cable said: "She regards this as humiliating and insulting and she intends to go back to work and openly wear her cross."

The airline has said jewellery such as crosses can only be worn under uniform.

"I think BA has handled this very badly. They allow people of other faiths to wear headwear," Mr Cable said.

'Forced leave'

The check-in worker, from Twickenham, south-west London, plans to sue BA for religious discrimination after being told to conceal her necklace.

Ms Eweida, who has worked for BA for seven years, said she wore the cross because of her deeply-held religious beliefs.

In an interview with BBC London she said: "Why should I have to go and hide myself in a recuitment job out of sight of passengers and uniformed colleagues?

If BA claim to be an equal opportunity employer, where is my equal opportunity?
Nadia Eweida

"My position with them was a uniformed one, and I was wearing a cross for the last seven years."

She said she was in favour of people of all faiths being allowed to wear religious items.

But she said: "I'm at a disadvantage - if BA claim to be an equal opportunity employer, where is my equal opportunity?"

She is from an Egyptian background and attends Pentecostal as well as Arabic churches.

She claims she has been "forced" to take unpaid leave after refusing to conceal her cross.

A BA spokesman confirmed Ms Eweida had been offered a temporary position in recruitment where uniforms are not required and she could openly wear a cross.


SEE ALSO
Woman to sue BA in necklace row
15 Oct 06 |  London

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