This isn’t the first time troublemaker Anis Ali, 36, (photo right) has brought an anti-Muslim discrimination claim against his employer, Heathrow Express. This time, Ali demanded financial compensation after he discovered that the fake suspicious package planted to test security procedures had the Arabic words “Allahu Akbar’ for ‘Our God is Greater’ on it as part of a training exercise.
Daily Mail (h/t Sara S) The tribunal heard that Mr Ali, when he was employed by Heathrow Express, was not on duty at the time of the exercise but when he discovered the nature of the note ‘he considered this to “violate his dignity” and “created a hostile environment for him.” (Oh, Boo Hoo)
However, the tribunal ruled Ali had not been discriminated against and it was unreasonable for him to take offense because ‘this phrase has been used in connection with actual Muslim terrorist attacks’.
The tribunal heard that in August 2017 staff for Redline Assured Security Limited – which has a contract with Heathrow Airport for security-related services – concealed a carrier bag at one of Heathrow Express’s stations as part of a test.
This was open at the top, and contained a cardboard box and some electric cabling. At the top of the bag, so as to be visible on close inspection, was a piece of paper with the words ‘Allahu Akbar’ written in Arabic.
The proper translation of this is ‘Our God is Greater’ and this was described by the tribunal as ‘an important and significant phrase for Muslims, which may be used many times a day by Muslims in the context of religious devotion’.
Mark Rutherford, operations director of Redline, told the tribunal: ‘The only purpose of the note is to ensure that the package looked obviously suspicious […] to reflect just one of the current Islamic-related threats that were present in the UK at the time.’
He added that Redline would also use English phrases in their fake suspicious packages, such as ‘Animal Testing must STOP now’ or ‘No Third Runway’. Ali claimed that Redline had discriminated against him because of his religion by using the words “Allahu Akbar” in this context.
However, his claim was dismissed by employment judge Laurence Antsis, who ruled this was not directed at Mr Ali, saying: ‘Regrettably, this phrase has been used in connection with virtually all Muslim terrorist attacks.’
He added that it was ‘legitimate’ for Redline to reinforce the suspicious nature of its packages by ‘referring to known threats and matters connected with previous terrorist incidents’ and it was ‘not reasonable’ for Mr Ali to take offence.
Mr Ali, who now works for Great Western Railway, made two other claims of unlawful harassment related to his religion by colleagues at Heathrow Express and was successful in these, ruling that he had been a victim of religious discrimination when colleagues complained about him wearing ‘a Sikh kara bracelet’.