Christian mother 'forced out of Heathrow job after hate campaign by Muslim fundamentalists'
- I was told I would go to hell, claims worker
- 'Muslims made fun of colleague wearing crosses'
- Lost job after speaking out about 'extremist' bullying
A worker who claims she was the victim of a race-hate campaign by fundamentalist Muslims because of her Christian beliefs has launched a landmark case against her former employers.
Nouhad Halawi, a saleswoman at Heathrow Airport's World Duty Free shop, said she and other Christian staff were systematically harassed by Muslims.
She alleged the intimidation included:
Mrs Halawi lost her job at the perfume counter in Terminal 3 in July after 13 years when she spoke out about bullying by a small group of 'extremist' Muslims at the airport.
The mother-of-two had been the subject of a complaint by an Islamic colleague but when she raised her own concerns as a Christian, she said she was the one who was dismissed.
Her case for unfair dismissal is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre, who believe it raises important legal issues over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.
Shopping: One of the World Duty Free stores at Heathrow. Mrs Halawi was a perfume saleswoman for 13 years
Mrs Halawi, 47, who came to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, said: 'I have been sacked on the basis of unsubstantiated complaints.
'There is now great fear amongst my former colleagues that the same could happen to them if one of the Muslims turns on them.
'This is supposed to be a Christian country, but the law seems to be on the side of the Muslims.'
She says that she had always got on well with her Muslim colleagues,but the atmosphere changed with a growing number of employees promoting 'fundamentalist Islam'.
Mrs Halawi told the Sunday Telegraph: 'One man brought in the Koran to work and insisted I read it and another brought in Islamic leaflets and handed them out to other employees.
'They say that Jesus is s***** and bullied a Christian friend of mine so much for wearing her crosses that she came to me crying'
'They said that 9/11 served the Americans right and that they hated the West, but that they had come here because they want to convert people to Islam.
'They say that Jesus is s***** and bullied a Christian friend of mine so much for wearing her crosses that she came to me crying.'
She claimed she became a targeted for the fundamentalists after she stood up for her friend who wants to be anonymous because she still works at the terminal.
In May, five of her Muslim colleagues complained to David Tunnicliffe, the trading manager at World Duty Free, accusing her of being anti-Islamic following a heated conversation in the store.
According to the Telegraph, her description of a Muslim colleague as an allawhi - 'man of God' in Arabic - sparked a row when another worker overheard the remark and thought she said Alawi, which was his branch of Islam.
Heathrow: Complaint of religious discrimination by a sacked worker in Terminal 3
Following the complaints she was suspended but was not told on what grounds until she met Mr Tunnicliffe in July.
Two days after the meeting she received a letter withdrawing her Heathrow security pass - needed to work at World Duty Free - because her comments were deemed 'extremely inappropriate.'
Mrs Halawi, paid at World Duty Free on a freelance basis by cosmetic staff agency Caroline South Associates, was told that she would not be unable to continue working without her pass.
A petition signed by 28 colleagues, some of them Muslims, argued that she has been dismissed on the basis of 'malicious lies.'
The Christian Legal Centre has instructed Paul Diamond, a leading human rights barrister, to represent Mrs Halawi in taking both Caroline South Associates and Autogrill Retail UK Limited, which trades as World Duty Free, to an employment tribunal.
A lawyer acting for CSA told the Sunday Telegraph: 'The case is still pending so the company is not in a position to comment, but as far as the company is concerned she's never been an employee and has never been dismissed.'
A World Duty Free spokesman said they were unable to comment because of 'ongoing legal proceedings'.
Last week, Jewish businessman Arieh Zucker complained that he has been repeatedly singled out for full-body scans by Muslim security staff at the airport.
The 41-year-old mortgage broker, from London, has accused them of 'race hate' and is threatening to sue for racial discrimination after being made to 'feel like a criminal' while being scanned.