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Veil row assistant 'victimised'

Reader comment on item: No Islamic Law in Minnesota, for Now

Submitted by John, UK (United Kingdom), Oct 19, 2006 at 14:44

Aishah Azmi has won her claim of victimisation at a tribunal.

Extraordinarily, the tribunal did not uphold her claim of religious discrimination and harassment on religious grounds. It's not clear then of what, exactly, Ms Azmi is a victim; probably bad manners. No wonder you guys call the UK Londonistan!

Most people here are appalled by the decision. Ms Azmi has endured derision from all quarters, including some in the Muslim community, for her opportunistic behaviour which is increasingly being perceived as more political than pious. Consider her recent interview with Peter Sissons of the BBC:

Interview between BBC and Aishah Azmi

BBC : Did your employers know that you planned to wear the veil before you were offered the job?

AA : I'm not aware of that, whether they knew or not.

BBC : Was it a mistake not to volunteer the information, especially as it's a Church of England school?

AA : Erm... no, I didn't quite answer that question. Erm, the reason why I'm here is just to say that, erm, I did not refuse to take the veil off in front of the children. I deserved (sic) that I had to keep my veil on in front of male colleagues.

BBC : But this is... um... this is a Church of England school at which you got a job, but you didn't tell them your attitude towards wearing the veil, which has caused such controversy.

AA : I didn't realise that... that... this... because this is a mainly Muslim school I didn't realise that, you know, that it would have... that that would be perceived as a problem, because parents, the female parents they were where they go to Parents... erm... Evening... um... Teacher of Communicating's there. If I am knowing that it would be a problem... um... probably I would have remembered, but you know... Alright if they say something, but nobody asked me and... uh... I didn't really realise that... you know, it was as ... and an interview situation, so whether I'm prepared whether I...so I won't just realise.

BBC : So, given your views, it would have been more appropriate for you to go to a Muslim school, or perhaps an all-female school.

AA : No, I don't see why I should have to go to... just be... erm... for a Muslim school or a female school, because the veil is not a problem. So why is it that we, women who have the veil, should be segregated and separated from society just because we have the veil? I am perfect at my job and any other Muslim woman who wears the veil is also perfect at her job. If she wants to teach, she can teach.

BBC : Well of course you... you separate yourself from society don't you? Because this is a society in which the veil is just another form of mask which most people find, at least, alienating or, at the worst, intimidating.

AA : How can something be aliating and imidating (sic)? You're talking to me, or when someone is talking to me, you can... you see me. When someone is calling a call-centre, you know, you can't see them, but you're perfectly fine talking to them. You have a whole hour of conversation and you're very happy with the completion of it. You can't see them, so do you not feel then that there could be anybody behind a telephone? So does that mean that you should stop using the telephone, because it causes a barrier to communication? The veil does not cause a barrier in communication.

BBC : Who interviewed you for this job?

AA : Um... Miss Susan Meyer and Mr Smith.

BBC : And... you were interviewed by Mr Smith, and you were wearing the veil then were you?

AA : [long pause] Erm... do I have to answer all the questions?

BBC : Erm... it's not compulsory, but it's very interesting to know whether you were prepared to meet, presumably a governor of the school, a male governor of the school. You let him see your face, but you subsequently changed your mind about letting other men see your face, connected with the school.

AA : Erm... I don't really have much of a comment to say about anything because... erm... that time was... erm,...

BBC : Were you interviewed face-to-face by a male governor of the school for this job?

AA : Pardon?

BBC : Were you interviewed face-to-face by a male governor of the school for this job, when they were interviewing you to assess your suitability for the job?

AA : [Long pause] Erm...

BBC : Was a man, in the same room as you, interviewing you for the job? It's a simple question...

AA : Yes, there was a male, but it was something... 5 minutes... erm... I didn't...I thought it was interviewed by a female, I was really caught unawares.

BBC : And did you wear a veil for that interview?

AA : Erm... no. [End]

I'll let you decide for yourself just who has been victimised here. Oh, by the way, Ms Azmi is still under suspension which is some consolation. However, she is considering taking her case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights. Watch out for protests in Lahore... and Tehran... and Damascus... and Beirut... ad nauseum.

Submitting....

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