An article falsely attributed to Jeff Foxworthy has been doing the rounds:

It makes various claims and one of the claims are is that women in burqa are not strip searched out of "respect" of their religion.

If an 80-year-old woman who is confined to a wheelchair or a three-year-old girl can be strip-searched by the TSA at the airport, but a woman in a burka or a hijab is only subject to having her neck and head searched - you might live in a nation that was founded by geniuses but is run by idiots.

The overall post is political satire, but this claim is presented as fact.

Is it true?

  • Hi. Thanks for deciding to contribute. However this site only addresses notable claims, and a single post on a message board is not really notable. Also, you need to be a bit more specific about exactly what you are claiming. Oct 15, 2016 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


No, it's false.

In New York, Muslim women can request private screening with a female officer (most security check points have a private room which they use for more advanced screenings). Huffington post reports:

In terms of law enforcement, this means making sure that female officers are alone with Muslim women before asking them to take off the hijab. In terms of airport security, this means bringing a Sikh or Muslim to a separate area before asking them to remove pieces of clothing that may be against policy. Over the last few years in Houston we were able to change policies and implement procedures in place that allowed for understanding and respect while still making the area safe for everyone.

Reference: huffingtonpost.com

In Florida, TSA offers private screening for Muslim women. TSA officials of Florida said in a statement:

“All TSA officers and contracted screeners are trained to treat every passenger with dignity and respect... When additional screening is needed that requires the removal of religious apparel, our officers offer private screening and only then will they request a passenger remove the item.”

Reference: Buzzfeed News

Laws and regulations in other states are most likely similar. Opinions of hijabi American Muslims indicate this. Cassandra Strand, a Muslim convert who lives in Minnesota wrote in a Quora post:

If a woman wears niqab or burqa and is asked to remove it she simply requests a private area (most security check points have a private room which they use for more advanced screenings and such but it could even be a corner where nobody else can see her except the officer/agent.

She will most likely request a female officer/agent and then it only takes a second to lift up her veil and confirm identity. Some women may be comfortable enough with lifting their veil right there in the security checkpoint line for a few seconds to confirm identity. The same room you go to if you refuse to use the body scanner and request a different method of security scanning is the same room they would take you to for private removal of a niqab.

  • 2
    Quebec is part of Canada, not the United States, and so it lies outside the TSA's jurisdiction.
    – jwodder
    Oct 16, 2016 at 20:34
  • 3
    While Quebec is indeed Canadian, note that (some?) major Canadian airports have a TSA presence to screen passengers traveling to the US. I personally have gone through a full TSA checkpoint at the Toronto airport. Oct 17, 2016 at 7:26
  • @jwodder I deleted that part and updated it with a much better reference. Oct 17, 2016 at 12:05
  • 1
    @DaveSherohman Canadian airports have US customs posts. They are only responsible for immigration screening, not security. Security is handled by Canadian autorities. US Customs will not strip search anyone. Oct 17, 2016 at 13:17
  • 2
    I'd defy anyone to find an example of an 80 year old woman or a 3 year old child being strip-searched, as well. However, I don't think making the statement, for comedic or dramatic purposes, without qualification is the same as "stating as fact." Oct 18, 2016 at 21:17

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .