A Muslim police officer was told he looked like the terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden by his boss because of his long beard, an employment tribunal has heard. Pc Tariq Dost has taken West Midlands Police and the police authority to a tribunal for racial and religious discrimination and victimisation following the remarks made to him from 2007.
Pc Dost, from Small Heath, Birmingham was working as a recruitment officer for the force when his manager Darren Yates is alleged to have made several discriminatory comments to him based on his race, beliefs and religion. The tribunal heard how Mr Yates made remarks about the length of his beard on several occasions and also questioned why he tucked his trousers into his boots.
Giving evidence, Pc Dost said: “I believe he felt uncomfortable with me because of my appearance. I found them (his comments) to be discriminatory and ignorant and embarrassing.” Pc Dost, 42, also claimed Mr Yates referred to Muslim prayer as “shouting and wailing” when he asked to go to afternoon prayer while at a recruitment fair at Birmingham’s NEC.
Mr Yates is alleged to have laughed at him as he turned up to the fair in Islamic clothing and robes as he was off duty. “I found it to be highly offensive and demeaning and discriminatory towards myself and Muslims as a whole,” Pc Dost said. “His actions were racist and Islamaphobic.”
Update: See “Muslim policeman awarded damages from West Midlands force”, Birmingham Post, 26 June 2009