Think it can't happen here?

I was appalled to read that a small business owner in England (a woman who operates a "urban and edgy," and "funky" hair salon) was sued by a devoutly religious Muslim woman who refused to work without her head covered. Which means the owner has "had to shell out $8,000 for hurting a veiled Muslim job applicant's feelings":

when Desrosiers advertised for a junior assistant, it was reasonable for her to exercise her judgment as to who would fit the image of her "funky" salon:
"I sell image -- it's very important -- and I would expect a hair stylist to display her hair because I need people to be drawn in off the street," said Ms. Desrosiers. "If someone came in wearing a baseball hat or a cowboy hat I'd tell them to take it off while they're working. To me, it's absolutely basic that people should be able to see the stylist's hair."
Muslim applicant Bushra Noah, pictured below, does not fit the image. She is pointedly, reproachfully un-funky, a silent admonition to those infidel women who dare to flaunt their hair and a deterrent to precisely the kind of customer Desrosiers wishes to attract.
There's a picture of "Bushra" there, and a picture of the owner here, and the contrast couldn't be starker.

Religious discrimination and hurt feelings my ass! This is a small business owner whose business reputation and success depend on her being able to project an image with which her customers can identify. As the author (Mary Jackson) points out, the owner took all the risks, and this litigant took none, which is the height of unfairness:

Desrosiers railed against this injustice:
I've worked hard all my life -- how can it be possible that someone can come into my shop, talk to me for ten minutes, and then sue me for £34,000? How is that possibly fair?
It isn't fair. It isn't fair because the balance of risk and reward has been cruelly inverted. Desrosiers risked, sacrificed, and lost. Noah risked nothing, sacrificed nothing, and won.
Reading between the lines, I get the clear impression that this case is another example of "legal jihad" (something with which I suspect was behind a post 9/11 lawsuit I got dragged into).
Islam is doing what Islam has always done: taking territory by any means possible. For Muslims in the West, tears are more effective than guns. We cannot stop Muslims complaining, but can ensure that the squeaking gate does not always get the oil.
The owner here was placed in a classic damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't position. Had she hired this whining, covered woman, and had her trendy urban hipster customers felt uncomfortable about having their hair cut by a self-proclaimed prude, they'd have most likely not have complained, because trendiness is infected with political correctness.

But the thing is, a haircut is a personal service. A very personal service. If you're in the least bit uncomfortable (as I have been with several haircutters), you won't go back. No one wants a confrontation even under ordinary circumstances. But when you add PC to the mix, it becomes even less likely. So, had the owner hired her and watched her customer base dwindle, what then? Fire Bushra? She'd be sued for even more.

What heightens my suspicion that this is nothing more than contrived legal jihad is that I suspect the vast majority of the haircuts at the salon are decidedly "un-Islamic." While I'm not versed enough in the religion to know what an "un-Islamic" haircut is, I do know that barbers in Iraq have been killed for giving them.

Anyone remember the Iranian crackdown on "homosexual" haircuts?

Here are two videos on the subject:



Frankly, the haircuts didn't look especially gay to me, but I guess you have to be Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to know what a gay haircut looks like.

An Islamic advisory opinion states that among other things, women should:

...avoid "punk rock" hairstyles that mimic pagan tribal haircuts and avoid "lesbian" hairstyles....
I don't know what a pagan lesbian tribal haircut is, as I'm not a lesbian tribalist. But whatever it is, I'd be willing to bet that Bushra's religion would frown on her giving them. So maybe she'd use her position to deliver lectures to customers on the importance of morally correct haircuts. (Oh, and couldn't she also refuse to cut men's hair, for religious reasons?)

Sorry, but this all goes to precisely why she should not be hired for the job.

I think she's insincere and I suspect she's some sort of a flack for an agenda.

The whole lawsuit has a very suspicious smell. It strikes me as similar to a devout Muslim applying for a job in the alcoholic beverage or pork industry.

Anyone who thinks such "religious discrimination" lawsuits couldn't happen here should think again, because they already are. I agree with this commenter:

If they don't like the dress code, find a new job.
Employers should have the right to set whatever dress, grooming, or hair style policies they deem appropriate to their workplace. Especially in places that cater to helping customers achieve a certain "look" (and I don't care what the look is), expecting employees to reflect that look is almost a no-brainer.

But the discrimination bureaucracy is brainless.

UPDATE: My thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the link, and a warm welcome to all!

Comments appreciated.

posted by Eric on 07.01.08 at 10:49 AM


Correct me if I am wrong, but hasn't something similar already occurred here, though dealing with homosexuals rather than Muslims. I read not long ago of a New Mexico HRC deciding a monetary award in favor of a gay couple and against a Christian photographer who refused to photograph their wedding on religious grounds. This seems a well worn path on both sides of the pond. It is the left wing using the police power of the state to impose their values on society.

I've been waiting to hear if the New Mexico case gets appealed. I certainly hope it does as this seems a clear violation of first Amendment rights. But we will see.

GW   ·  July 1, 2008 11:51 PM

I don't go in for conspiracy theories, but it's hard in this case not to wonder if some Islamist leader put her up to it for the sake of advancing 'the cause'.

Jeff Perren   ·  July 2, 2008 9:46 AM

I run a barber shop for men. i do not cut the hair of African. I just don't know how.

david still   ·  July 2, 2008 9:47 AM

I wonder if anyone has set up a fund for the funky hairdresser to help her cover the $8,000 judgement to the heavy-browed Bushra. I'd gladly donate money to the funky hairdresser!

What a ridiculous, unfair outcome, and what a great incentive for more legal jihad. This for a women who had been turned down by numerous other hair salons before this one.

Kelly   ·  July 2, 2008 10:00 AM

Why should anyone feel uncomfortable?

She's only standing behind you with a pair of scissors.


Creeping jihad. Eyes open, everybody.

And remember your Minuteman forebears.

ALEXISTAN   ·  July 2, 2008 10:21 AM

This happened in England. Those of us in America cluck in relief. It's only a matter of degree, after all. Canada occupies the middle ground... not as bad as England but much, much worse than the USA.

One if by land, two if by sea ... 3 if by Muslim.

Wake up, western world. Wake up.

paul a'barge   ·  July 2, 2008 10:54 AM

Soon enough we be huntin down dose musselmans. Yes we will. And wen we finds 'em, we'll keeell em. Not fast, with a sword to the throoat, but solw. reeeeel slow. Let 'em moan a bit to allah. den let em bleed out reel slow.

Then I propose to put the whole taped episode on Al-Jizzera. Let 'em eat what they serve. Heaping helpings. Then we can go kill them all in their countires.

Can you tell I'm tired of this shit?

Bill Johnson   ·  July 2, 2008 7:22 PM

I don't know what a pagan lesbian tribal haircut is What do you live in - a cave? Ride the T to Cambridge with me and you'll see tons of pagan lesbian tribal haircuts - butch cuts for short.

bandit   ·  July 3, 2008 8:41 AM

GW -- I read not long ago of a New Mexico HRC deciding a monetary award in favor of a gay couple and against a Christian photographer who refused to photograph their wedding on religious grounds. This seems a well worn path on both sides of the pond. It is the left wing using the police power of the state to impose their values on society.

The remarkable irony is that no matter what happens, a victory for one identity group is a victory for all. A victory for the Christian photographer is a victory for Muslim complainants. And if you think about it, so is a victory for the gay couple! (Christian photographers could not refuse to photograph polygamous Muslim weddings....)

Everyone gets to be a victim.

Bandit, I thought they wore mullets!

Eric Scheie   ·  July 3, 2008 10:48 AM

The New Mexico case was decided in nice liberal NM for the gays. The trouble was that the photographer told the gays that she did not work for "those types of ceremony's". That is what got her. She should have just said she was busy. I know it is bowing to the PC gods but...

Remember that a sign that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." is NOT illegal. Be discriminating in your clientele just watch how you do it and say it. Being discriminating is NOT racist or discrimination. You do have the right to choose until the Obamanation takes it away from you.

Robohobo   ·  July 4, 2008 4:15 AM

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