As a British Muslim doctor I'm horrified at the thought of women banned from wearing a hijab to work

Letters
European Court of Justice ruled that companies can ban religious symbols in the workplace: AFP/Getty

I find the recent judgement by the European courts to allow companies to ban wearing of all religious symbols deeply regrettable.

As a practising doctor I take great pride and honour in having studied and worked in the NHS observing the hijab. I have been uninhibited in serving my country without any comprise of my faith. I have never faced any opposition in observing my hijab and it has never affected the sensitive patient-doctor relationship. My patients have always seen my hijab as an intriguing part of personal life and by no means a hindrance to my practice and they have been unanimously kind and have expressed appreciation for the treatment I have had the fortune to give them.

In fact, whilst my faith motivates me to observe the hijab, it is this very same faith that drives me work on days when junior doctors are striking for example. It is Islam alone that does not let me compromise patient safety for any personal gain.

Legal institutions that serve to uphold basic human rights have no place invading the religious freedom that is every human’s fundamental right. To legalise such discrimination, where there is no compromise in the work of an employee, is most unjust. Such laws will likely lead to ongoing infringements and divisions in society. Employees should be judged by their merit and abilities, not their religious beliefs.

Maleeha Mansur
London SW20

A big thank you and well done to the Prime Minister Theresa May for speaking up against the European court ruling on religious attire during Prime Minister’s Questions yesterday, saying: “Individual institutions can make their own policies but it is not for Government to tell women what they can or cannot wear and we want to continue that strong tradition of freedom of expression.”

Many individual institutions have successfully employed hijab-wearing Muslim women and their headscarf has never been a hindrance to their work. By allowing Muslim women to incorporate the headscarf in their dress code, employers have only boosted the morale, motivation, commitment and overall performance of their female Muslim staff.

If Muslim women are suddenly forced to remove their headscarves in a workplace where it has never posed a problem before, many will simply look for employment where this isn’t an issue, and if the ban extends to other religious dress and symbols such as Christian crosses, Jewish skullcaps, and Sikh turbans, this would cause mayhem and disruption for the businesses wishing to impose such policies. It doesn’t make sense for any levelheaded employer to impose this kind of ban.

Navida Sayed
​Hounslow

Our responsibility in the Israel/Palestine conflict

Israel has been accused of imposing an “apartheid regime”, but of course it wants to deny this and go on claiming it’s a true democracy for all the people it oppresses, kills or ethnically cleanses. Those who are invested in protecting Israel will always leap to its defence, but the mask came off many years ago and cannot be put back.

The question is what is the British Government going to do about it? Britain, who 100 years ago issued the Balfour Declaration, bears a major part of the blame for the Isreal/Palestine conflict.

Are we going to continue to pretend we are not responsible? Or will we try at last to reclaim a modicum of respect in the eyes of the world by apologising to the Palestinian people for the century of suffering that we condemned them to with that shameful document?

Elizabeth Morley
​Aberystwyth

A second Scottish referendum

You know what’s really depressing about Nicola Sturgeon’s Bute House announcement on Monday? The nationalist leader’s enthusiasm for referendums means Scotland will be perpetually infighting until there is no longer a Holyrood majority in favour of separatism, or the vote tips over 50% in the SNP’s favour. Pro-UK supporters have to win every time, but the separatists need only win once.

Sturgeon has nothing to lose – except any moral high ground – by not respecting our democratic wishes of September 2014. It’s clear her intention is to go on and on manufacturing grievances and identifying referendum triggers until her anti-UK rhetoric grinds us down.

It’s imperative the UK government protects us from this opportunistic onslaught against democracy by the SNP.

Martin Redfern
Edinburgh

In her statement today rejecting a second Scottish independence referendum prior to the final Brexit agreement, Theresa May said that it would be unfair to Scottish voters to ask them to vote on independence before the exact final details of our exit from the EU are confirmed.

Strange, therefore, that it was deemed by the Government to be totally acceptable for the whole country to vote last year on our own Brexit before any details at all of the terms of that exit were known.

David J Williams
North Wales

We need to be realistic about future EU agreements

Of all that has been said and is being said on Brexit, the very height of extraordinary futility is surely the fact that that we are going to leave the single market with zero border tariffs along with common regulatory documentation throughout the EU, only to now spend decades trying to forge all but equivalent “trading agreements” with the EU we have just left.

Europe is founded on four freedoms: free movement of people, goods, services, and capital. We can’t have one without the others. The UK cannot just say: “We’ll trade on best terms with EU thank you very much, but we don’t want your people.”

A referendum run on slogans along with blaring propaganda has ended up trumping every argument on the planet of why leaving the EU is clearly going to be enormously damaging to our county and our people, as well as a major threat to the EU itself.

Jeff Williams
​Poole

In response to questions about lack of planning for a hard Brexit, David Davis states that “first we will build the Lego bricks”, (whatever that means) “then we will build the Lego house”.

Does he not realise that with the import tariffs we will face it will be totally uneconomic to buy Lego bricks from Denmark?

G. Forward
Stirling

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