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10 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I July 2008
Muslim
UK councils
stylist wins
accused of
abusing
£4,000 payout
spying powers
Civil rights campaigners last
of assistant stylist “due to my headscarf”. Ms month accused local authorities
Desrosiers, 32, told the panel that Ms Noah in the UK of abusing spying
lived too far away, but was persuaded to give
powers and called for a change
her an interview in May last year.
in the law.
The accusation came after the
Ms Desrosiers told the tribunal she was
Local Government Association
surprised it had not been mentioned earlier and
warned councils that they should
expected her staff to reflect the “funky, urban” stop using the Regulation of
image of her salon. The panel found that Ms
Investigatory Powers Act to
Noah had been badly upset by the 15-minute
detect “trivial matters” such as
interview .
dog-fouling and litter offences.
In a letter to all local
She was awarded £4,000 damages for
authorities, the association’s
“injury to feelings”. In its judgment, the panel chairman Sir Simon Milton also
The owner of a hair salon has been ordered to stated: “We were satisfied by the respondent’s
advised councils to carry out an
pay £4,000 compensation to a Muslim stylist evidence that the claimant was not treated less
annual review to let the public
who was turned down for a job because she favourably than the respondent would have
know how they were using
their powers and to appoint a
wears a headscarf. Bushra Noah accused treated a woman who, whether Muslim or not,
scrutiny committee.
Sarah Desrosiers of religious discrimination for a reason other than religious belief wears a
“I’m concerned that if those
when she failed to offer her a job at her Wedge hair covering at all times when at work.” powers are seen to be misused
salon in King’s Cross, central London. An It added: “There was no specific evidence
then we could lose them
employment tribunal panel dismissed the 19- before us as to what would (for sure) have
altogether, so really I’m asking
councils to do a stock check
year-old’s claim but upheld her complaint of been the actual impact of the claimant working
to make sure they can satisfy
indirect discrimination. in her salon with her head covered at all times.”
themselves that they are
Ms Desrosiers said she needed stylists Speaking after the ruling the salon owner acting in a proportionate and
to showcase alternative hairstyles. During said: “I never in a million years dreamt that
necessary way,” Milton told the
the hearing Ms Noah, who lives in Acton, somebody would be completely against the
BBC.
west London, told the tribunal that she was display of hair and be in this industry. I don’t
The criticism flows a wave
of publicity about the “over-
“devastated” that she was not offered the job feel I deserve it.”
zealous” use of the act. A survey
by the Press Association in April
found that a number of councils
local Muslim
had used the act to monitor
offences never intended to be
covered by the new powers.
Home Office guidelines
say that the act allows “the
groups
interception of communication,
carrying out of surveillance
and the use of covert human
intelligence sources” to help
crime, including terrorism.
raise
Liberty civil rights group went
further in criticizing the abuse,
saying that self-restraint by
council was only useful as a
very first step.
£62,000
“Ultimately we need a change
in the law to ensure that judges
are more involved in authorising
the more intrusive powers and
for Gaza
to make sure that the powers
are clear and proportionate
and aimed only at serious
crime,” Liberty’s director Shami
Chakrabarti said.
The opposition Conservatives
Indian Muslim Welfare Society representatives from both . Interpal is registered with the also warned that the public
(IMWS) and the Pakistan & community organisations Charity Commission, and is will be alarmed about the way
Kashmir Welfare Association presented a cheque to the managed and supervised by a
the councils were using such
(PKWA) from Batley, West Chairman of Interpal, Ibrahim Board of Trustees.
strong powers under the guise
Yorkshire, have jointly raised Hewitt. The monies raised came
of counter-terrorism.
a staggering £62,000 for the Interpal is continuing its from two charity fundraising
“They must be as tightly
people of Gaza . efforts despite the many events, auction sales,
controlled as if they were being
used by the police or security
At a presentation evening challenges and obstacles sponsors and collections
services,” shadow home
held at the PKWA Centre faced by aid and development made at local Masjids and at
secretary Dominic Grieve,
in Batley last month, agencies working in Palestine both community centres.
said.
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