The household appliance company Dyson was working on an electric car and while headlines focussed around Sir James Dyson’s vision, behind closed door one of their Muslim engineers working on the project was being bullied, harassed and discriminated to such an extent that she resigned after 4 years at the company.
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The harasment and bullying came from Dyson’s senior technical project manager Kamaljit Chana. Mr. Chana is also a Conservative party councillor for Harrow.
A UK employment tribunal ruled the Muslim engineer Zeinab Alipourbabaie, was religiously discriminated and unfairly dismissed as the tribunal ruled against Dyson.
Dyson however have let Mr. Chana keep his job after he denied the allegations despite the tribunal ruling that Miss Alipourbabaie’s account of the one-to-one meeting ‘compelling and persuasive’.
Zeinab Alipourbabaie told of how shocked and uncomfortable she was when Kamaljit Chana asked if she was Muslim, then went on to say that he “did not like Muslims” because he claimed “Muslims are violent” and talked about terrorism and claimed Pakistanis groom girls. His tirade continued as he claimed his family no longer fly from fear of Muslims.
Dyson commented “These allegations were investigated fully and disciplinary action was taken against Kamaljit Chana who was found to have acted inappropriately.” yet have refused to fire Mr. Chana.
Mr. Chana has also retained his seat as councillor for Harrow and a petition has been launched appealing to the Conservative party to dismiss him. You can find the petition by clicking here.
Zeinab Alipourbabaie said “No one should have to endure the pain of harassment and discrimination that I suffered while working at Dyson as result actions of Kamaljit Chana, a man who, as the Tribunal noted, is a councillor. As such he has a public duty not to hold discriminatory views but should set an example being fair minded and tolerant of all religions.”
The tribunal found that Mr. Chana prevented the promotion of Miss. Alipourbabaie in the company. Her lawyer commented “The Tribunal accepted that Mr Chana made wholly unacceptable comments, that he deliberately excluded her from meetings and emails, and that he expressed critical views about whether she should be promoted”
MEND, an NGO focussed on tackling Islamophobia, released a report in 2019 after over 100 examples of Islamophobia were logged. You can read the report here.
The Muslim Council of Britain, MCB, submitted a dossier to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) with evidence of Islamophobia from over 300 individuals in the Conservative party. You can read the MCB’s letter here.
The Conservative party has long been criticised for not taking action on racism and discrimination against Muslims or those descending from Muslim majority countries.
The opposition Labour party has recently come under new leadership but also stands accused of Islamophobia. A report has shown that senior members of the party supported Islamophobic views.
A Muslim Tory peer Lady Syeda Warsi recently criticised her own party’s Islamophobia. She commented that “It feels like I’m in an abusive relationship”
15 Tory councillors were dismissed for Islamophobia but later quietly reinstated. The Guardian also exposed how Tory party members endorsed racist and Islamophobic material on social media. Calling for the Quran to be banned as they called it an “evil book” and called Muslim “bin-bag-wearing individuals” who follow a cult.
It recently came to light that Dominic Cummings, the political strategist who has served as chief adviser to UK prime minister Boris Johnson since July 2019, published offensive cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. You can read about that here.
For British Muslims, the waves of anti-Muslim fascism seem to never end. Despite serving their country politically as MP’s, mayors and peers or being upstanding professionals and members of the community, they still seem to be far from being free from discrimination, from the top to the bottom of the political spectrum and from the ruling to opposition parties.
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