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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 October, 2004, 12:42 GMT 13:42 UK
Beard row Muslim sacking appeal
A Muslim worker was sacked by Virgin West Coast Trains after he refused to shave his beard, a tribunal was told.

Mohsin Mohmed, 23, of Ilford, Essex, was asked repeatedly to trim his facial hair and told not to wear a skullcap by senior Virgin staff at Euston Station.

At an employment tribunal on Tuesday he accused Virgin of racial and religious discrimination and harassment.

He said he had trimmed his beard and cut it to about four inches but was sacked after six months' probation.

According to my teachings a male from the Islamic faith cannot trim his beard shorter than a fist length
Mohsin Mohmed

The tribunal was told Mr Mohmed, a customer service assistant, also refused to serve alcoholic drinks to customers in the first-class lounge and a manager suggested he should wear gloves.

When a senior staff member asked what he would do if he had to choose between shaving his beard or leaving the company he replied he would have to find another job, the tribunal heard.

Mr Mohmed, who was sacked in February this year, told the tribunal he had been growing his beard since he was 18.

"According to my teachings a male from the Islamic faith cannot trim his beard shorter than a fist length."

More derogatory

Muslims who cut it shorter than this were "in reality sinning", he said.

When the devout Muslim was asked at his job interview last summer if he could trim his eight-inch long beard and his hair, he replied that he would.

On a training visit to Euston Station the request to trim his facial hair was made again by assistant station manager Mark Loveland who also told him he would not be able to wear his hat.

Mr Mohmed told the tribunal that after being posted to Euston calls for him to cut his beard became more derogatory.

The case continues.




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