Et tradisjonsrikt engelsk kulturuttrykk som de fleste skandinaver kjenner godt, er humoren. I det multikulturelle England er det tilsynelatende blitt mindre rom for denslags, i særdeleshet når det er på selve den islamske korrekthetens bekostning man har det litt moro. I praksis viser det seg altså at selvhøytidelighetens møte med den avvæpnende uhøytideligheten er litt som å blande olje og vann.
Da den sekstisju år gamle David Jones nylig var på vei gjennom sikkerhetskontrollen på Gatwick-flyplassen utenfor London, hadde han like i forveien lagt merke til hvordan en kvinnelig muslimsk passasjer med letthet hadde passert med nesten hele ansiktet dekket av et slør. Idet han la skjerfet sitt sammen med andre personlige eiendeler på røntgenscannerens rullebånd og var på vei gjennom metalldetektoren, spurte han spøkefullt hva som ville ha skjedd hvis han hadde hatt skjerfet rundt ansiktet.
Det skulle han ikke ha gjort. Jones ble nemlig stanset av en sikkerhetsvakt som anklaget ham for rasisme. Av en kvinnelig muslimsk kollega hadde vakten hørt at hun fant Jones’ vittighet, ja du har allerede gjettet det: krenkende. I en time forsøkte sikkerhetspersonalet, en politimann og en representant for British Airways å få Jones til å be om unnskyldning.
67-åringen kom imidlertid i kamphumør av hele episoden:
‘Something like George Orwell’s 1984 now seems to have arrived in Gatwick airport. I feel my rights as an individual have been violated. What I underwent amounts to intimidation and detention. I am not opposed to having this level of security but it must be equal for all.’
He intends to lodge a complaint with the airport and BA. Mr Jones was stopped when, after passing through the metal detecting arch, his artificial hip set off the alarm. He was searched, after which another security guard said he was being detained because he had made an offensive remark.
The woman took his passport and boarding pass but although he maintained he had done nothing wrong, he said it was ‘impossible to get her to listen to reason’.
A second female guard joined the pair. Mr Jones said she told him she was Muslim and ‘deeply distressed’ by his comment.
He again denied his remark had been racist, and they were then joined by a BA duty manager, but Mr Jones said they sided with the security staff. At his request a police officer attended but, said Mr Jones: ‘It was plainly evident that he was keeping to the politically correct code.’
He demanded that the officer should arrest him if there was a case against him, but was told ‘that we now live in a different time and some things are not to be said’.
The matter was eventually resolved when Mr Jones agreed his remarks ‘could’ have been regarded as offensive