A Christian woman fired for taking on alleged radical Muslim colleagues who mocked Jesus and bullied Christians at London’s Heathrow Airport is suing her former employers, saying her case raises issues of national security, religious harassment and workers’ rights.
Nohad Halawi, the woman who worked at World Duty Free in Terminal 3, was dismissed after five Muslims filed unsubstantiated complaints about her conduct as an apparent revenge for standing up for a colleague bullied and harassed by Islamic fundamentalists, says the Christian Legal Centre, a London-based conservative group that is supporting her in the case.
Halawi, a migrant from Lebanon, had persistently complained to management over personal religious abuse and harassment from Islamic staff who even mocked her about “shitty Jesus,” CLC adds.
The employers, Autogrill Retail U.K. Ltd., trading as World Duty Free, and Caroline South Associates, for whom she sold perfumes and other goods as a part-time, commission-based worker in Duty Free, told Halawi she had no legal employment rights although she had been working for 13 years.
“She has been threatened with costs if she attempts to go to an Employment Tribunal, despite the fact that this forum is cost free.” A prominent human rights lawyer, Paul Diamond, is representing her at the Employment Tribunal.
Many Christians in Britain complain they are not allowed to practice or express their faith thanks to a twisted concept of “multiculturalism.” Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, the only Muslim in the cabinet and co-chair of the ruling Conservative Party, recently said Britain should become a country where people are not ashamed of saying they are Christians as that was not against multiculturalism.
“Nohad’s case is one of the most serious we have ever handled,” says CLC Chief Executive Andrea Minichiello Williams. “It raises huge issues. First, there is the level of Islamic fundamentalism prevalent at our main point of entry to the UK. Secondly, there are very real issues of religious discrimination, which it would appear those in authority are turning a blind eye to, using the current loop-holes in employment law as an excuse. Thirdly, there is a very big issue of justice.”
Nohad represents tens of thousands of people across the U.K. who work as “employees” for companies with absolutely no employment rights.
“This is a case which, if simply ‘struck out’ by the Employment Tribunal as a technicality, will demonstrate how woefully inadequate the UK’s employment legislation is, and will ensure that the fundamental security and religious issues of this case are not properly investigated,” CLC cautions.
In her submission to the Tribunal, Halawi has wide support from other Heathrow staff, including other Muslims. “We find this incident particularly worrying as it appears to allow individuals to perniciously use the ‘race and religion card’ to besmirch a fellow colleague, with the intention of securing their dismissal from gainful employment,” states an Open Petition, signed by 22 staff.
The letter criticizes a WDF manager, charging he favored the bullies and “those who always give him gifts and testers.”
“Those bullies who accused our colleague are extremists working with us, and he supports them,” the staff wrote. “They try to convert us to Islam and we really find their ideas distasteful to discuss such religious matters on the shop floor, yet they twisted it around to put the blame on our dear colleague. Her only crime was to defend a colleague who has been bullied and harassed by these individuals. We have all been too scared to report these individuals as we all know we will not be taken seriously.”