Monday, October 04, 2010

Muslim woman fired from British estate agency for REFUSING to wear a headscarf

Hmmmm... I am inclined to think that any business has a right to set down dress standards required at work. That fact that the same standard was not required of non-Muslim employees rather destroys that defence, however -- JR

A Muslim woman has been awarded more than £13,500 after she was sacked for refusing to wear a headscarf at the estate agency where she worked. Ghazala Khan - a 31-year-old non-practising Muslim - was fired less than two weeks into her job at a company run by traditional Muslim businessman Masood Ghafoor simply because she refused to cover her hair.

Mr Ghafoor told Miss Khan, who had nine years experience in the trade, that his wife and female relatives all wore full veils or burkas, telling her that her parents had given her 'far too much freedom'.

A tribunal heard that Miss Khan had been employed to run Mr Ghafoor's Go Go Real Estate office in Leeds, West Yorkshire, in June 2009. However, within days of working there she was left feeling 'very uncomfortable and intimidated' when Mr Ghafoor put it to her that she had not been brought up as a 'good Muslim' and that if she had been his daughter she would not be allowed to work and would have been long since 'married off'.

He asked her to wear a headscarf at work - even though white non-Muslim women he employed in the same office were never asked to and never did. On the day she was due to start her third week in the job, Mr Ghafoor told her not to bother coming in.

When she eventually caught up with him later that evening he told her that members of the Muslim community had been 'gossiping' and suggested that she was not 'respectable' and that there might be 'something going on' between her and members of staff.

Mr Ghafoor added that his cousin Shakeel, who was also employed in the office, was unhappy working with a female especially as she did not wear a headscarf, was not religious and was Westernised.

Graduate Miss Khan, who represented herself at the hearing in Leeds, won her claim for discrimination on the grounds of her lack of religion or belief, by dismissing her and sex discrimination.

She has been awarded £13,566.67 for injury to feelings, loss of earnings and unpaid holiday pay. The tribunal concluded: 'Ms Khan described herself as British Pakistani, meaning that she is of Asian racial origin and of Pakistani national origin. 'She also described herself as a non-practising Muslim, meaning that she identified with the Muslim religon but did not attend her local mosque, pray regularly or cover her hair. 'The respondent on the other hand is a practising Muslim with traditional religious and cultural beliefs.'

The tribunal heard that at her job interview Miss Khan had worn a grey pinstripe trouser suit, described as 'conventional modern professional dress'.

Mr Ghafoor wanted her to run the office when he was out on business, telling her he wanted 'someone professional in the front office' and she began work there on June 17 last year.

The tribunal heard that Mr Ghafoor had originally told Miss Khan there was no problem with the way she dressed. 'He was happy that she was fully covered up by the black trousers and long sleeved blouses and tops that she wore to work,' the tribunal heard. 'By the time of the hearing, he was saying that she had chosen to wear clothing of a very revealing nature.'

After sacking Miss Khan on June 30, Mr Ghafoor went on to acknowledge that Miss Khan had not done anything wrong at work and that it was not her fault. 'He was happy with her work, it was just that they could not have a woman working in the office,' the tribunal ruled.

'He added that they had had a 'problem' like that before with what he described as a Westernised young Muslim Asian woman working there. 'They had dismissed her too after a few days for essentially the same reason. 'In her case, however, the respondent had found her another job in a friend's office.

The tribunal concluded: 'We find that the respondent treated the claimant less favourably by dismissing her and not his white women employees because she would not cover her hair. 'That refusal on Ms Khan's part was owing to a lack of belief that her religion obliged her to do so.

'Whilst she identified with the Muslim faith, she did not agree with its practices as applied to women. 'That was the ground for her dismissal, although it can be said that the refusal to wear a headscarf was simply a manifestation of a lack of belief. 'We do not think, however, that such a narrow interpretation is appropriate on these facts.

'For the authorities indicate that an employer is entitled to maintain a 'secular' workplace by eluding manifestations of religious belief from working practices and dress, if it deems it appropriate in the circumstances. 'We can see no reason why that principle should not apply to an employee in the circumstances of this case. 'Further, we decided that a purely cultural interpretation of the requirement to wear a headscarf was too narrow.

'We agree with Ms Khan that the requirement is a mixture of the cultural and the religious in so far as it is derived from a particular interpretation of Islamic scriptures.

'As for sex discrimination, there was direct evidence that Ms Khan's sex as a woman played a part in the decision to dismiss. 'Cousin Shakeel did not want to work with a Muslim woman who did not cover her hair. 'The covering is an expression of female modesty. 'He would have treated any male employee more favourably by working with him, all other things being equal. 'Accordingly we found that the discrimination was equally on the ground of the claimant's sex.'

The tribunal concluded: 'Our impression of Ms Khan was of an articulate young woman who genuinely needed a job and would not have behaved in the way described by Mr Ghafoor.'

Mr Ghafoor was cleared of race discrimination as the tribunal ruled he would have treated black or white female converts the same as he treated Ms Khan.


One autistic kid used as an excuse for another intrusion into family life

He should be running around laughing and playing with the other children at his nursery.

But because he watches so much TV, one three-year-old boy has already become cut off from his peers, trapped in his own ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ world instead.

The toddler, known only as Max, has spent so long watching the show that he barely speaks to other children at his nursery school and instead wanders around in a daze obsessively repeating phrases from the TV programme.

He watches the cartoon for as many as five hours a day – and doctors fear that it has had a long-term effect on his development and communication skills.

The programme is full of catchphrases, such as the character Thomas saying he wants to be a ‘really useful engine’ and exclaiming ‘well bust my buffers’, or those of his faithful coaches Annie and Claribel ‘We feel so full,we feel so full’.

Another well-known phrase goes ‘Silly old Gordon fell in the ditch, fell in the ditch, fell in the ditch,’ from the episode which shows the big green engine purposely running into a ditch to avoid pulling a goods’ train.

The boy, who lives in the U.S, is being treated by a specialist in California. Doctors are so alarmed that they have reported his behaviour in a paper published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics.

The youngster’s mother reportedly lets him watch as much TV as he likes. He also likes to watch the Disney Channel, which includes popular programmes such as Hannah Montana and Phineas and Ferb.

However, his case is by no means unique and experts warn that children who watch too much television may be in danger of suffering learning difficulties later on.

Some doctors believe the problem is becoming so widespread that toddlers younger than two should be banned from watching any TV at all.

Researchers in Britain fear that television is increasingly hindering children’s communication skills and ability to concentrate as well as contributing to rates of obesity, because screen-based activities mean they are less inclined to be physically active.

They are considering drawing up strict guidelines which could even advise parents to ban toddlers from watching TV.

Stuart Biddle is chairman of the ‘sedentary behaviour and obesity’ working party, which is currently considering guidelines for the Department of Health. He said: ‘We are considering what guidelines should say, and a statement around no television for the under-twos is potentially one of the more controversial ones.’

Some countries are already considering a similar policy. last year, the Australian government began drawing up guidance suggesting a ban for children under two. The advice, which is being finalised, also recommends that those aged between two and five should watch a maximum of one hour a day.

France has also banned any programmes specifically being made for those under five.


Shame on Family Films?

By L. Brent Bozell

Don't read Newsweek magazine while drinking a beverage. A spit take is the obvious first reaction to a column by Julia Baird headlined "The Shame of Family Films." On the Internet, this article is coded as "Why Family Films Are So Sexist."

Baird's denunciation of Hollywood's fraction of decent entertainment began: "They have all been smash hits: 'Finding Nemo,' 'Madagascar,' 'Ice Age,' 'Toy Story.' Fish, penguins, rats, stuffed animals, talking toys. All good innocent family fun, right? Sure, except there are few female characters in those films. There are certainly few doing anything meaningful or heroic -- and no, Bo Peep doesn't count."

So what does feminist bean-counting have to do with whether a movie is "good innocent family fun"? Did any young girl come away from "Finding Nemo" feeling like the memory-challenged Ellen DeGeneres fish character didn't represent female empowerment effectively? Were they offended by the oppressively archaic stereotype of Jessie the Yodeling Cowgirl during "Toy Story 2"? Families can't enjoy these films without expecting them to pass some politically correct quota exam?

The Newsweek columnist was promoting a new study from Stacy Smith and Marc Choueiti of the Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism at the University of Southern California. They reportedly analyzed 122 family films (rated G, PG and PG-13), including 50 top-grossing ones, between 2006 and 2009. She found it "startling" that there is "only one female character to every three male characters in family movies." (Well, not exactly -- they claim 29.2 percent of characters were female.)

Worse than that, Baird the Angry Feminist protested, "The female characters were also more likely than men to be beautiful." Well, that's scandalously unfair! (Don't think Baird wouldn't also protest if a certain number of women were ugly beyond repair.)

There's more. One in five female characters were "portrayed with some exposed skin between the mid-chest and upper thigh regions." If a conservative tried to suggest "The Little Mermaid" should put on a shirt, tell me Newsweek wouldn't point fingers and laugh. But that's what Newsweek's Angry Feminist is suggesting.

Baird was especially upset that cartoons might exaggerate the female physique: "One in four women was shown with a waist so small that, the authors concluded, it left 'little room for a womb or any other internal organs.' Maybe we could carry them in our purses?" Baird even claimed "another study" found "women in G-rated films wear the same amount of skimpy clothing as women in R-rated films."

That just sounds ludicrous. Anyone wanting to check on Baird's academic assertions would have trouble, since these two studies she's referring to cannot be found on the Annenberg School website or anywhere else online. The Annenberg study was commissioned by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, which has been compiling data on women in film. Davis, the actress who most recently played the president on ABC, told Newsweek that 17 percent of animators are female, and women form 17 percent of crowd scenes in family films. Only 17 percent of narrators are female.

Ridiculous -- and funny, too. How nit-pickingly intricate are these studies to count genders in "crowd scenes"? WHO CARES? As for only 17 percent of females being narrators, does Davis find it distasteful if her husband reads a bedtime story?

But Davis isn't done with her feminist footnotes. She also claims research shows that the more TV a girl watches, the fewer options she believes she has in life, and the more a boy watches, the more his views become sexist. A look at the Geena Davis Institute website shows that her group is marshaling feminist research attacking on all of these fronts -- the dearth of female characters, animators, directors and so on -- with the entire panoply of TV and movies, not just the family films.

There's nothing wrong with seeking more female directors, producers or major characters in Hollywood -- they're supposed to be feminist enough to have already imposed "affirmative action." But for Newsweek to single out family films as somehow shameful is beyond unfair -- especially since none of them are truly singled out. Tell us how "Finding Nemo" or "Toy Story" are the work of sexist pigs.

Baird isn't just an Angry Feminist; she's a hypocrite, too. Last year, her own magazine tried to embarrass Sarah Palin by putting an old photo of her on the cover in running shorts, suggesting this Caribou Barbie wasn't ready for prime time. Did Baird protest? No, she defended the cover since Palin "has been photographed and filmed more than once in aerobic gear."

Newsweek, heal thyself.


California Death Penalty Once Again Thwarted by Thug Huggers

On Oct. 28, 1980, Albert Greenwood Brown snatched Susan Jordan, 15, raped and strangled her to death with her own shoelace. Brown, who was on parole after raping a 14-year-old girl, then spent the night tormenting the dead girl's parents over the phone, telling them that they would never see their daughter again and where to find the girl's half-nude corpse and belongings. A jury sentenced him to death for that crime.

Last Wednesday, almost 30 years later, Brown was scheduled to be executed. Of course, it didn't happen. Various judges intervened, the state's meager supply of lethal-injection drugs was about to expire -- and so California's death penalty is on hold until 2011.

There hasn't been an execution in California since January 2006. In February of that year, federal Judge Jeremy Fogel essentially ordered a de facto moratorium on California's three-drug lethal-injection protocol because there was "undue risk" -- not that he knew if it had ever happened -- that a condemned murderer could "suffer excessive pain when he is executed."

In April 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 that Kentucky's three-drug lethal-injection protocol is constitutional. Yet Fogel's injunction continued to prevent executions as California officials scrambled to reconfigure the lethal-injection protocol under a superior court judge's order.

No matter which course the state chooses, taxpayer-funded appellate attorneys have managed to block justice -- and on the taxpayer's dime.

Last month, Fogel issued a ruling to allow California's new lethal-injection protocol to proceed. Brown's attorneys argued that under the three-drug protocol, Brown might suffer pain after the initial injection of sodium pentothal. Ohio dealt with that argument by moving to a one-drug injection of that drug. Death penalty opponents complained that Ohio wanted to do drug testing on humans.

Likewise, Brown's attorneys protested that the new protocol was "untested." (Be it noted, there is only one way to test it.)

Fogel gave Brown the option of a single-drug option. His lawyers protested that Brown has given a too "short time frame" to decide. And they prevailed.

On Thursday, I talked to state Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron George. His court also issued a ruling that stayed Brown's execution, this one on a narrow timing issue.

George told me, "I'd say, when the authorities end up procuring the second dose of lethal drug, I don't see why we shouldn't have executions resume."

Why is it, I asked, that Ohio has managed to execute 32 people since 1999, but California has only used capital punishment 13 times since 1977? (My answer would be: the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.)

"We have a system that is dysfunctional," George answered. It was George who once famously said, "The leading cause of death on death row in California is old age."

Oddly, at Tuesday night's gubernatorial debate, neither Democrat Attorney General Jerry Brown nor Republican former eBay CEO Meg Whitman seemed particularly exercised about the delays.

Jerry Brown posited that the delays are "too lengthy." He then cited George's past calls to hire more personnel to handle the backlog, "because under the Constitution, these men who are condemned have a right to first-class representation." (Actually, George told me, "The operative word is effective representation, not first-class.")

Criminal Justice Legal Foundation legal director Kent Scheidegger blogged that Brown "seems to have swallowed the defense spin on the issue, hook, line, and sinker."

Whitman promised to be "a tough-on-crime governor." But she seemed most concerned about the money issues, when she said that if the state can't speed up the process, "we are going to be on the brink of building another death row facility."

This isn't an issue of prison construction costs. The anti-death penalty lobby is committed to burning through so much time and taxpayer money that voters cry uncle and give up on the death penalty because they're sick of bankrolling frivolous appeals that successfully thwart capital punishment even though the U.S. and California Supreme Courts have ruled it to be constitutional.

When they've won on the death penalty, they'll start trying to shave time from life-without-parole sentences, which they also consider to be inhumane -- on your dime as well.

The next governor needs to understand these forces and not give in to the siren song of inertia. But I don't think either Jerry Brown or Meg Whitman understands what is at stake.



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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