Muslim teen denied dodgems ride at Butlins over hijab “health and safety” risk
Categories: Latest News
Thursday December 14 2017
The Guardian reports on a discrimination case launched by a Muslim family against the holiday company Butlins after a teenage girl was prevented from riding on dodgems because she was wearing a hijab.
Moammer Nasser, a family support worker from Birmingham, has brought a claim for race and religious discrimination against Butlins after the incident occurred in Minehead in June.
Nasser was holidaying at the resort with his wife and four children. While waiting to use the dodgems with his 16-year-old daughter, an attendant said she could not use the ride because she was wearing a hijab, citing health and safety concerns.
Nasser complained and requested to see a policy specifying the banning of hijabs. He told the paper, “I was shown a safety code which stated that some disabled guests or those with physical injuries may not be able to use rides safely. But wearing a hijab is not a disability or a physical injury.”
Nasser explained the impact the incident had on his daughter and family’s holiday, describing the incident as humiliating.
“We were humiliated in front of other fairground users. My daughter was crying at the gate of the ride, making her feel very stressed and upset.”
The family decided to cut short their holiday, leaving the resort a day earlier than planned.
After making a formal complaint to Butlins, Nasser received a response from Jan Axten of Bourne Leisure, who stated that following a “very serious incident” in 2016, it was company policy no one could go on the ride if they were wearing a headscarf or loose garment which could not be removed. She offered Butlins “sincere apologies” and said the firm was disappointed if the father felt his daughter had been deliberately treated unfavourably.
Nasser, who is crowdfunding a campaign to continue funding the legal action, maintained that his daughter’s hijab had no trailing or loose parts which could have become a health and safety impediment.
Nasser said, “The hijab covered her face and neck. It was raining so she was wearing a jacket and so the part of the hijab covering her neck was tucked into her jacket”.
The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for companies to discriminate in the provision of goods and services on the basis of religion. A Butlins spokesperson defended the company saying, “There was no question of discrimination and any suggestions of this are utterly rejected in the strongest terms.”