A woman who used to work at London's busy Heathrow Airport is suing her former employers claiming that she and other Christian staff at the airport were victims of systematic harassment because of their religion. The Telegraph reports Sunday on Nohad Halawi who is suing for unfair dismissal from the airport she worked at for 13 years:
"She claims that she was told that she would go to Hell for her religion, that Jews were responsible for the September 11th terror attacks, and that a friend was reduced to tears having been bullied for wearing a cross."
Christian Concern reports that Halawi was fired following " unsubstantiated complaints by five Muslims about her conduct." Halawi had persistently complained to management over personal religious abuse and harassment from the Islamic staff, who even mocked her about "shitty Jesus." Halawi claims that complaints against her were made by a small group of "extremist" Muslims, and that there is now a great fear among employees that their jobs could be at risk if the small group turns on them.
"This is supposed to be a Christian country, but the law seems to be on the side of the Muslims," Halawi told the Telegraph.
The Telegraph notes that the case comes as Christian groups in the country have continued to complain about their treatment in comparison to Muslims:
"Her case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, who say it raises important legal issues and also questions over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.
It comes amid growing concern among some Christians that their faith is being marginalized and follows calls from Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, for Christians to be given greater legal protection in the wake of a series of cases where they have been disciplined or dismissed for practicing their faith."
The paper points to recent examples of alleged discrimination at Heathrow, including a Jewish businessman who has complained about being repeatedly singled out by Muslim security staff for full-body scans. In addition to discrimination, Christian Concern notes that Halawi's allegations, if true, raises questions about the influence of Islamic fundamentalism at Heathrow Airport and issues of national security.
Halawi, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, emphasized to the Telegraph that she claims to have always got along well with Muslim colleagues, but the atmosphere has changed as a growing number of employees are espousing to "fundamentalist Islam."
In May, five of her Muslim colleagues had complained to the trading manager at World Duty Free where she sold perfumes at a commission-based pay position, that Halawi was anti-islamic. She had described a Muslim colleague as an allawhi, which means 'man of God' in Arabic. A heated argument broke out when another worker overheard the remark and thought she said Alawi, which was his branch of Islam. Following the complaints Halawi was suspended and then told to withdraw her security pass in July.
A petition was signed by 28 of Halawi's colleagues, some of them Muslims, arguing that she has been dismissed on the basis of "malicious lies." Despite this, Halawi has not been reinstated.