O my holy sleeves!

When should ‘religious beliefs’ trump medical precautions? Hmm, let’s see. Never.

Many Muslim women all over the UK could be at risk of losing their jobs after the Secretary of State for Health, Alan Johnson, introduced the “bare below the elbow” policy. This policy was first introduced in January 2008 and stated that, when any member of staff is in contact with a patient, they must have their full arm from the elbow and below completely bare.

That doesn’t put Muslim women at risk of losing their jobs; it puts them at risk of having to bare their arms below the elbow when in contact with patients. In other words it presents them with a not very onerous job requirement that is in place in an attempt to prevent lethal infections. In other words, big fucking deal. Some jobs come with requirements of that kind; that’s just a fact of life. You can’t dress any old way you want to when you’re working with food, for example. Religion doesn’t give people the right to endanger the health of other people. You can’t be a surgeon and say your religion forbids you to scrub your hands, and that’s all there is to it. There is no human right to ignore hygiene regulations in a hospital. Suck it up.

Ayesha believed the dismissal was unethical as it violated her equality and diversity human rights…Ayesha described the “continuous nightmares” she suffered regarding the situation and upon her dismissal how she was “emotionally torn apart”. She feels viciously discriminated against, and this incident has left her seriously doubting any future job security. Ayesha feels shocked that she was forced to choose between her religious beliefs and her livelihood. She hopes to “prevent the policy from being universally applied, so other Muslim women do not experience the same trauma.”

Trauma nothing. If you work in a hospital, you are inevitably going to have various dress and hygiene requirements. Period. Grow up, enter the real world, have some sense, deal with it. And bag the self-pity, too.

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