"While dictators rage and statesmen talk, all Europe dances — to The Lambeth Walk."

Monday, 15 June 2009

Islam in Britain

A blind man was hounded off of a bus in Reading because Muslim passengers objected to the presence of his guide dog.

From Get Reading:

A driver told a blind cancer sufferer to get off his bus when a woman and her children became hysterical at the sight of his guide dog.

George Herridge, 71, told how the mum flew into a rage and shouted at him in a foreign language. A passenger explained she wanted him to get off the bus during the incident on May 20.

Mr Herridge, from Tern Close, Tilehurst, said: “Her child was kicking and screaming and someone off the bus told me her child was frightened of my dog. The driver said, ‘Look mate, can’t you get off?’

“I stood my ground. I had not done anything, my dog had not done anything and I was getting off the bus for no one.”

The retired NHS worker claimed he was forced off a bus by a driver after a similar encounter last summer.

And a day after the latest bus incident an lady began screaming “I don’t like dirty dogs” at Mr Herridge at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

A week earlier he faced further animosity from a couple at Asda in The Meadway, he said.

He is unsure what has provoked outbursts but said he thinks some have come from Asian people and that it may be due to religious or cultural differences.

If the people who were upset were Muslim, they consider dogs to be ritually unclean.

As part of a Muslim Council of Britain project, Mufti Zubair Butt, Shar’ia advisor to Muslim Spiritual Care Provision in the NHS, admitted Muslims “require some education” on guide dogs.

In response to concerns raised about guide dogs in mid-2008, he said: “It is important that one does not impose one’s own understanding upon others, but one shows understanding and compassion for others, their needs and their views, especially in an open communal space and in a country where Muslims are living as a minority.”

A female Muslim cocktail waitress has been awarded £3,000 compensation because the bar in which she worked expected her to wear a certain kind of dress.

Although the tribunal kicked out her claim that the dress was provocative or revealing.

Judge for yourself - this is a picture of the Bosnian Muslim in the bar dress on the left, and the one on the right is from her own Facebook page.

From the Mail:

Fata Lemes, 33, was handed the payout even though a tribunal rejected her claim that the dress was 'sexually revealing and indecent'.

It concluded the Bosnian Muslim 'holds views about modesty and decency which some might think unusual in Britain in the 21st century'.

But it accepted that Miss Lemes genuinely believed that the short, low-cut dress was 'disgusting' and made her look 'like a prostitute'.

Bosses at the Rocket bar in London's Mayfair should have made allowance for her feelings and their insistence that she wear the dress amounted to sexual harassment, the tribunal ruled.

The panel at Central London Employment Tribunal found that Miss Lemes overstated her trauma at being asked to wear the sleeveless dress that was open at the back.

It also rejected Miss Lemes' claim that she was left with no choice but to walk out of her job after just eight days.

It branded her compensation claim of £20,000 including £17,500 for hurt feelings as 'manifestly absurd'.

But it awarded her £2,919.95 for hurt feelings and loss of earnings.

Miss Lemes told the tribunal that she 'might as well be naked' in the dress, adding: 'I was brought up a Muslim and am not used to wearing sexually attractive clothes.'

A photo of Miss Lemes on Facebook, however, shows her wearing a low cut T-shirt revealing her cleavage.

In its judgment, the panel ruled that restaurant group Spring & Greene, which owns the Rocket chain, must 'take their victim as they find her'.

It said of the dress: 'It is eye-catching, not only because of its colour but also because of its cut and lines. It is clearly a garment for a girl or young woman. It is intended to, and does, show the curves of the body.

'It seeks to make the wearer attractive. It might be seen as a party dress or something to wear at an informal celebration.'

But the panel ruled that wearing the dress could not amount to 'conduct of a sexual nature'.

It added: 'We would see the matter otherwise if we considered the dress genuinely indecent or if the wearing of it was, or could reasonably be seen as, tantamount to signalling availability for sexual favours.

'But the facts do not put this case into that category. We appreciate that Miss Lemes takes a different view.'

Miss Lemes claimed she was pestered for sex by customers at the bar shortly after starting work in May last year.

She also alleged that bosses ran Rocket 'like a sex club' and that clients treated waitresses like prostitutes.

The panel ruled: 'Her perception was that wearing the dress would make her feel as if she was on show, as if she was being presented as one of the attractions which the Rocket Bar was offering its customers.

'In our view that perception was legitimate and not unreasonable. In our judgment, the effect of requiring her to wear the dress was to violate her dignity.

'We further consider that it created for her an environment which was degrading, humiliating and offensive.'

Giving evidence, Miss Lemes, of Camden, north-west London, told the tribunal she had worked as a waitress for 14 years and was experienced in silver service.

She took the job at Rocket, earning £5.52 an hour plus a share of service charge and tips, to supplement her income as a photographer.

Miss Lemes said that on only her second shift two guests told her they were looking for a blonde 'for one or more nights'.

She said: 'On my second shift, I was approached by two guests explaining that they were looking for a blonde Scandinavian or Swedish girl for one or more nights.

'It was obvious that they thought that I was Scandinavian. I politely refused the offer.

'I was offended by that offer. I considered the company must be indicating to guests that the bar was the type of bar where they could make sexual offers to staff.'

She initially wore a loose-fitting black linen shirt and trousers but a week into the job, she was given the new outfit, which she considered 'physically revealing and openly sexual'.

She said: 'Waitresses told me, looking worried, that the company had brought dresses for us to wear that they thought I would not like.

'It was a bright red dress that was clinging and revealing of the body. It was clearly designed to be attractive to men sexually.

'It was indecent. If you put this dress on, you might as well be naked. Everything finishes in the middle at the chest. It is open at the front and back. I did not want men looking at my body.

'I was particularly concerned that clients, who already had made sexual proposals while I was wearing loose black clothing, would regard me as a sexual object or a prostitute.'

At the tribunal, the restaurant group produced photos of another waitress, Amanda Bjursten, wearing the dress in the bar and she modelled it at the tribunal hearing.

Ms Bjursten, from Sweden, said she was 'completely comfortable' wearing the dress.

The bar's manager Luca Scanu denied the dress was designed to boost custom and tips from male clients by being 'sexually inviting'.

Miss Lemes' lawyer Joe Sykes asked the restaurant's general manager Danila Bodei: 'The reason for choosing the colour red was to indicate that the waitresses were sexually available, wasn't it?'

She replied: 'No, it was just the colour to match the bar.'

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