From the Telegraph U.K.
From the I’m sorry, so sorry, sorry, sorry, sorry, please forgive me file.
Case of Christian minister dismissed from radio station over alleged ‘Muslim insults’ to go to European Court of Justice
A Christian radio presenter who claims he was sacked for offending Muslims is to have his case considered by the European Court of Justice.
By Martin Beckford, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Published: 6:15PM BST 01 Sep 2009The Rev Mahboob Masih, a minister in the Church of Scotland, says he was dismissed from his position as a volunteer on Awaz FM after a “lively” debate about differences between Christianity and Islam.
He took the case to an employment tribunal, arguing that he was unfairly dismissed and discriminated against on the grounds of his religion.
The Asian community station in Glasgow, which receives public money, denied discrimination and claimed the tribunal could not hear the case as Mr Masih was not a paid employee.
Now the case has been passed to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for judges to make an important ruling on whether volunteers are protected by anti-discrimination legislation.
Raymond Williamson, an employment judge, said: “I ask myself the question, ‘can it be right that the respondent, a creature of statute, partly funded out of public funds and set up with the aim of promoting social cohesion, should be able to discriminate on religious grounds against the volunteer staff it is obliged to engage as a condition of its licence?'”
Andrea Minichiello Williams, a barrister and founder of the Christian Legal Centre, which backs alleged victims of religion discrimination, said: “We are grateful for the brave decision of Employment Judge Williamson.
“Rev Masih looks forward greatly to the European Court case as this will give Christians throughout Europe a unique opportunity to have their rights confirmed in law.”
As The Sunday Telegraph reported in January, Mr Masih had hosted a Saturday morning show on Awaz FM for six years before he fell out with management in July 2008.
An on-air discussion with his co-host and a guest about a prominent Muslim speaker, Zakir Naik, led to accusations that they were trying to “create friction”.
Mr Masih later said sorry to listeners and claims he was asked to make another apology at a local mosque, which the station denies.
He says he was sent a letter terminating his contract and telling him that he had “failed to remain neutral” and had allowed his guest to “make comments which led to offending various members of the community”.
A spokesman for Awaz FM said: “We are deeply disappointed that it has come this far. We don’t judge people on creed, colour or religion.”