Muslim wins veil case

A female Muslim teaching assistant in Britain who refused to remove her veil in the classroom has won an employment tribunal case for victimisation.

Kirklees Council, in charge of the school area, said Ms Azmi had been awarded 1,000 pounds ($A2474) for injured feelings, but dismissed claims of harassment and discrimination.

The 24 year-old found herself at the centre of a political row which drew in Prime Minister Tony Blair, after she was suspended from a junior school in Yorkshire, northern England.

Ms Azmi said she would consider appealing against the tribunal's decision to dismiss some of her claims.

The council had argued that face-to-face communication was essential for Azmi's job as a bilingual support worker. She was suspended from work in February last year.

After the ruling Ms Azmi read a statement saying that the intervention of politicians such as Mr Blair made her "fearful" for Muslim women who want to work.

"Muslim women who wear the veil are not aliens and politicians need to recognise that what they say can have a very dangerous impact on the lives of the minorities they treat as outcasts.

"Integration requires people like me to be in the workplace so that people can see that we are not to be feared or mistrusted.

Earlier this week, the British Prime Minister said veils were a "mark of separation" and backed the Dewsbury local authority over the case. He also called for a wider debate on integration.

The latest controversy over the veil began two weeks ago when cabinet minister Jack Straw, a former foreign secretary, said he asked Muslim women who visited his constituency office to remove their veils.
Source AFP

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