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Rev Jules Gomes: Religious belief is not about wearing hijabs or crosses. The ECJ is right


If you were a private employer would you want the freedom to prohibit your employees from wearing conspicuous and recognisable religious, political or ideological attire in the workplace? If a particular employee refused to remove her headscarf and told you it was her ‘right’ would you want to sack her, or if another insisted on wearing a vagina hat? You bet, you would!

Guess how many Jewish customers would enter my hairdressing salon in Golders Green if my Turkish barber wore a Palestinian keffiyeh around his neck and held a razor to Rabbi Goldberg’s neck while giving him a shave? I certainly wouldn’t name my salon The Second Combing. Samson’s Dreadlocks or Delilah’s Den might be more appropriate for a salon in Stamford Hill!

Guess how many big-time criminals would frequent the Gomes, Gonçalves & Guilhermino law firm if my best lawyer converted to Jainism and went to the Old Bailey with a cardboard visor covering his mouth as is the custom of devout Jains while doing his John Grisham spiel before The Hon Justice John Deed?

So why should any employer have to put up with Muslim women who protest when an employer asks them to leave off their hijabnib or purdah that they have worn to the office? Will the Left stop pretending that their virginity – or indeed their belief – is at stake if employers ask their employees to dress appropriately and uniformly for work?

For once, the wigs at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) have not bent the knee before the altar of Allah. The ECJ’s ruling this week now permits an employer to prohibit ‘the visible wearing of any political, philosophical or religious sign’ and makes it clear that this ‘does not constitute direct discrimination.’ Phew! Finally.

Surely this should gladden the hearts of our hammer n’ sickle red flag waving comrades? For years, these Puritan iconoclasts of secularism have been hell-bent on smashing symbols of Christianity in public places with the fury of an Oliver Cromwell.

You would think they would find an ally in Turkish President Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who banned religion-based clothing like the turban for men and the headscarf for women, while actively promoting Western-style attire through his reforms in 1925 and 1934. You would imagine they would draw inspiration from the Kulturkampf led by the Shah of Iran who banned the chador, ruband, and pichah in 1936.

Despite their despotic reforms, Atatürk and Reza Shah recognised that religious attire perpetuated ‘distinctions among groups’ by serving as ‘outward markers of ethnic, tribal, class or religious identity’ as Touraj Atabaki and Erik Zürcher observe in Men of Order: Authoritarian Modernization under Atatürk and Reza Shah. And doesn’t the Left love singing Hallelujah choruses to despots and dictators?

Isn’t it odd how our enlightened comrades at the Guardian are frantically dialing 999 because in their paranoia they believe ‘Europe is essentially permitting a ban on Muslim women in the workplace.’ The Independent (an unusual name for a newspaper owned by a Russian oligarch) has gone the whole hog, comparing the ruling to the Nuremberg laws. Whoa!

Can you believe these idiots want to drag us back to the “dark days of religion” and reverse the secularisation and modernisation set in motion by Atatürk and Reza Shah who were seeking to imitate the West? The Left, however, seethes with such bilious hatred for the West that it would prefer to do what the Islamic Revolution of 1979 did to Iran—making veiling compulsory for the sistahood!

Can you believe Tory toadies have joined forces with the dark side? Let me name and shame Conservative MPs from the feministasi Maria Miller to MPs like Caroline Dinenage, Eric Pickles, David Burrowes, Matthew Offord, Michael Fabricant, Philip Hollobone, Andrew Stephenson, and David Rutley, who at Prime Minister’s Questions, took to their faux moral high ground in defence of their Muslim constituents.

Grandstanding Eric Pickles actually identified ‘British values’ with hijab, turban, kippah and cross! ‘If we remove that basic right, the nature of British values changes. Any company that wants to be neutral and to deny its employees the ability to express their religion takes away from those employees and is fundamentally not British.’ That’s bullshit, Mr Sour Pickles, and you know it! Employees are employed to do a job, not to ‘express their religion’ at work.

The decaying C of E, despite its Protestant roots, thinks religion needs symbols in the workplace! It joined leftists and Koran-kissing Tories by issuing a statement written by some dim Welbyian spin-doctor: ‘In preferencing “freedom to conduct a business” above the free expression of faith the ruling potentially places corporate interest above those of the individual.’ Yes, yes, we know the Marxist Church of England doesn’t believe in capitalism, so employers shouldn’t have freedom to do business without employees staging a daily ideological costume drama or religious fancy dress ball.

Two weeks ago, when Michael Overd and Michael Stockwell were fined for street preaching why was the C of E not leaping in defence of their freedom of expression? On the contrary, Archdeacon of Oxford Martin Gorick said: ‘Street preaching can incite to religious hatred. I think it should be outlawed.’

So listen ye promoters of the Religion of Peace! The ECJ ruling insists that an employer cannot discriminate against Muslims! Or against religion, for that matter!! He has to prohibit all religious symbols as well as political, philosophical and ideological symbols in the workplace. How would a hijab-wearing Muslim like to hot desk with a Catholic who exhibits a crucifix on her desk? And let’s not con the credulous by calling this a “Muslim ban” like the fakestream media does with Trump’s immigration orders.

Let’s also call the bluff that Islam requires women to don the headscarf. There is, in fact, a stronger basis for Muslim men to wear the turban, which was the Prophet Mohammed’s habitual head covering. According to a tradition ascribed to Mohammad, the turban is the barrier between unbelief and faith. Reza Pahlavi roused the ire of the ulema when he banned the turban. On the other hand, the Koran merely reminds Muslim women of the need to ‘draw…[it] over their bosoms’ without mandating a headscarf or face-veil (Surah 24:31).

Faith isn’t about crosses or kippahs. It’s about beliefs and behaviour, creed and conduct. A Jew who removes his kippah remains a Jew; a Muslim who removes her hijab does not cease being a Muslim. A secular dress code simply affirms the employer’s neutrality. As for the BBC shedding crocodile tears over how the EU ruling could ‘force them (Muslim women) out of the workforce’—if you don’t like your employer’s dress code—find another job. Or live in a mosque, temple, church or synagogue. Or set up your own business and make your own rules. It’s called free-market capitalism.

(Image: Rchard)

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‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes
‘Rebel Priest’ Rev Jules Gomes
The Rev’d Dr Jules Gomes, BA, BD, MTh, PhD (Cantab) is a journalist and academic.

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