Hasanali Khoja, an Islamic chef for the Metropolitan Police, is sueing for religious discrimination after being expected to handle pork in his new job.
He’d previously arrived at an informal arrangement whereby he wasn’t expected to handle pork products, but his new placement has no such leniency.
And why should it? It’s just his belief, unauthorised and unjustified. Quite why an expectation for a chef to handle pork is religious discrimination is, I freely admit, beyond me. Oh, I can see why – but I don’t get how such a case is even allowed to get as far as the news.
Fine, if you have a delusional belief that prohibits you from handling certain foods and your bosses allow you – in your job as a catering manager, remember – to not touch such food, then lucky you. Someone else has been the man that you couldn’t be. But when you get transferred and are suddenly outside this umbrella of leniency and you view an expectation to handle pork products (remember – your job is a catering manager) as religious discrimination? Hell, you’re not going to leave your job. Why should you? You’re a catering manager who has decided they can’t touch pork. Your will should be done.
Seriously. Let’s apply this to something else. I’m working in an office, and I don’t like to touch paper because I have a personal belief that this isn’t right. Not a physiological issue, not a phobia – some mythical being has commanded that I do not touch paper.
Let’s assume for a moment that I would even get a job after saying “By the way, I can’t touch paper” in the interview. If I have a lenient boss who allows me to work without the requirement to touch paper, I’m very lucky. But why should I take such luck and generosity for granted? When my boss is replaced and I’m expected to touch paper just as everyone else is, why should I take umbrage?
It would be too much to ask that I wear gloves. Then surely I could touch the paper and save myself from hell.
Mr Khoja said: “The Met has shown no sensitivity towards my religion. Their response has been ill-thought and discriminatory.”