Religious Discrimination?


Can this type of thing be common in the USA?

Officer ‘Bullied Because Of Beliefs’
09-Mar-09

Claiming religious discrimination and unfair dismissal, the ex PC is taking Bedfordshire Police to an employment tribunal…

A Muslim officer claims he was bullied out of his job by colleagues who made fun of his beard and called him a “f***ing Paki”.

PC Javid Iqbal, 38, said white officers openly talked in front of him about how they were “better” than their ethnic-minority colleagues.

The married father-of-two also claims officers pulled faces at each other if told they had to go out on patrol with him and forced him to walk home from a job instead of picking him up.

Mr Iqbal says he was sacked after fellow-officers in Luton launched a “smear and witch-hunt campaign” during which they lodged a string of complaints about his performance.

He is taking the Bedfordshire force to an employment tribunal claiming he is the victim of racial and religious discrimination and unfair dismissal.

The claims will add to concerns about institutional racism in police forces.

An employment tribunal in London recently heard evidence that an “apartheid culture” was operated at Belgravia police station, in London, with separate vans for white and black staff.

Mr Iqbal, who was born and raised in Stevenage, Herts, said: “My beard is an important part of my identity which helps other Muslims relate to me.

“I am disgusted that I was bullied by other officers because of my beliefs. I became a policeman because I believed in putting something back into society.

“I have found that institutional racism is still very much around.”

Mr Iqbal was working in Hertfordshire County Council’s finance department when he became a special constable for the Bedfordshire force, one day a week.

After the 7/7 bombings in London in 2005, he volunteered to go on patrol every night after work for two weeks to help reassure the large Muslim population of Luton, who were concerned about revenge attacks.

In October that year he was accepted on to a training course to become a full-time constable.

He says the racist incidents kicked off in early 2006 and included one officer allegedly mimicking his accent and pretending to have a beard similar to his.

It got worse in September 2006 when eight officers allegedly presented “negative statements” to superiors about Mr Iqbal.

And relations with fellow officers hit a new low in February 2008, three months after he officially lodged his grievances.

A sympathetic officer told him the document had been left in the duty room where anyone could read it.

Subsequently, he said, an officer had openly referred to him as a “f***ing Paki”.

Mr Iqbal had only recently returned to work after a nine-month leave of absence on full pay owing to depression when he was sacked for poor performance in August last year.

He says he was the victim of untrue allegations, such as failing to report a rape claim. He insists the woman complained only of harassment at the time.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: “We can’t comment on a case that is yet to be heard but the evidence will speak for itself.”


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