Saturday, January 1, 2011

Robbery and Spin

There was a story out of Ottawa the other day about a bank robber who donned Islamic chick garb to rob a bank. It turns out, though, that it was far from the first time in recent months that such a disguise has been used to pull off a heist, as the Ottawa Citizen reports:

Acting Sgt. Anthony Skinner of the Ottawa police robbery unit estimated Friday that over the past six months, there have been upwards of five similar incidents in the city. Skinner said a meeting will be held early next week to compile and compare information, and to try to determine if the robberies are related.

In the Thursday robbery, Sgt. Mark Myers said the man, who wore a blue robe and a head scarf concealing his mouth and nose, passed a note demanding money to a bank teller at the Scotiabank branch at the Pinecrest Mall at about noon.

The teller handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the suspect then fled the bank, heading eastbound on foot.

Myers said that since the summer, there have been a handful of other robberies in Ottawa involving male suspects using Muslim women’s religious garments as disguises. He said police are confident the suspect in the latest case is a man because at one point during the robbery he spoke in a masculine voice.
Well, that's not always a sure indicator of gender. Take the Canadian Islamic Congress's Wahida Valiante, who often sounds rather "butch" when she talks:

Wahida Valiante, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, said veiled Muslim women already face intolerance and discrimination and cases like this only make matters worse.

“The act of whoever did that is not very good for the Muslim community,” she said. “Already there is so much hype about Muslims and Islam and terrorism.”
Okay, many not "butch" so much as whiny and obnoxious.

Of course, the Citizen, being the multishmulti rag it is, take pains to put everything in the proper "context":

A small minority of Muslim women wear veils that obscure their facial features in public. The garb has been the source of international controversy, with some arguing it can pose security and human rights concerns.
Can pose security concerns? Hasn't the spate of above-mentioned bank robberies shown that it does pose them?

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