Muslim Sues Police after Being Told He Might Cook Sausages.
Cook Hasanali Khoja is accusing the Metropolitan police of religious discrimination after it refused to guarantee in his contract that he would be excused from handling pork products. Khoja is being supported by the National Black Police Association, which has urged potential recruits not to join the Met, because of “racism” within the force.
He claims that while working as catering manager at Hendon Police College, in north London, he was asked to move to another team where he would be expected to cook what officers nickname the “999 breakfast” — a large fry-up including sausage, bacon and black pudding. “I felt very unhappy about it. I was very upset and angry,” said Khoja, who joined the Met in 2005.
“I never enrolled to cook pork. I had a letter from the human resources department saying that I would not be required to cook any pork. But this was not exactly what I wanted as a guarantee.” Khoja is now bringing an employment tribunal case which is expected to be heard next May.
His solicitor Khalid Sofi said: “We are confident that we have a very good claim. Religious discrimination law obliges employers if possible to accommodate genuine religious needs. The Met is a very large organisation and should have the flexibility to accommodate people in this way. But they were not able to guarantee that he would not have to handle pork products.”
The lawyer added: “This case goes in to wider issues of diversity, and I think it raises significant issues in the current climate. This is a claim based purely on religious discrimination rather than some of the other claims currently faced by the Metropolitan Police which use race discrimination law.”
Khoja, who previously spent four years as a catering manager at the Royal College of Defence Studies, also sits on a Food Standards Agency advisory committee on Muslim issues. Eating and handling pork products is prohibited by Islamic dietary laws.
After refusing to work without a guarantee that he would not have to handle pork Khoja, 60, from Edgware, north London, said he was placed on unpaid special leave for a year. He is now back at work at another Met building in Earl’s Court, west London, where he does not have to handle foods which contravene his faith, but has been downgraded from senior catering manager to higher catering manager.
A spokesman for the National Black Police Association said: “It was suggested that he could wear gloves to cook bacon and sausages. This of course was no good, because it is the principle involved and not about just handling the meat. It was all very, very nasty. They were telling him to do something which was against his faith.”
Should have just told him to fuck off..........