Muslim teacher who wouldn't remove veil wins court case

However the tribunal panel rejected allegations she had been subjected to direct and indirect discrimination and harassment.

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October 19, 2006 19:34
1 minute read.
Muslim teacher who wouldn't remove veil wins court case

British Muslim 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
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A Muslim teaching assistant suspended after she refused to remove a veil during lessons on Thursday won a victimization suit against her school. But Aishah Azmi, 24, who had insisted on wearing a niqab - covering all but a small part of her face - during lessons, lost two key claims of discrimination and harassment against the employer. Her case had become the center of a wide-ranging debate over the decision of some Muslim women to wear full veils and wider issues of the participation of religious groups in British society. Reacting to the case, Prime Minister Tony Blair called the religious dress a "mark of separation." Blair said he backed the local education authority's decision to suspend Azmi from her job teaching 11-year-old children at Headfield Church of England Junior School, in Dewsbury, northern England. Azmi acknowledged that she had not worn her veil during an interview for the role, assisting children who speak English as a second language. An employment tribunal awarded her 1,000 pounds (US$1,870; €1,490) for injury to her feelings following her victimization at the school. However the tribunal panel rejected allegations she had been subjected to direct and indirect discrimination and harassment. Azmi - wearing a black niqab - told a news conference in Leeds, northern England, she would appeal against the decision to reject her claims of discrimination and harassment. "Muslim women who wear the veil are not aliens, and politicians need to recognize that what they say can have a very dangerous impact on the lives of the minorities they treat as outcasts," Azmi said. "Integration requires people like me to be in the workplace so that people can see that we are not to be feared or mistrusted."


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