School assistant who would not compromise over veil is sacked

The Muslim teaching assistant who refused to remove her veil in school if a man was present has been sacked after failing to make concessions.

Aishah Azmi, 24, lost a discrimination and harassment case at an employment tribunal last month, and saw support collapse among parents at Headfield Church of England junior school in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, over what was seen as an uncompromising stand.

A very revealing BBC interview
Note the hypocrisy of the person involved.

Mrs Azmi, who was awarded £1,000 by the tribunal in Leeds because of mishandled disciplinary processes, was dismissed yesterday after a hearing at the school. She started work a year ago but was suspended in the spring when she refused a male teacher’s request that she remove the veil when helping children in her role as a bilingual support assistant.

The case added to the controversy which followed Jack Straw’s request to veiled women to uncover their faces during constituency surgeries in Blackburn. He warned that the use of the full veil, or niqab, by a growing number of women was damaging community relations.

Mrs Azmi, who made her stand after taking advice from an imam in Dewsbury, was urged to compromise last month by the local Labour MP Shahid Malik.

He said yesterday: “I’m disappointed that a compromise could not be reached. But while I would absolutely defend her right to wear the veil in society, it’s very clear that her wearing it in the classroom setting inhibits her ability to support children. This is not about religion.”

Mrs Azmi’s claim was brought as a test case under rules set out in the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2004. She is considering an appeal.

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Saturday November 25, 2006.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at