London councilor told worker ‘I do not like Muslims’ at major UK engineering firm

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Kamaljit Chana (pictured) was a senior project manager and is still a Councilor at Harrow Council. (Harrow Council)
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Dyson is owned by Sir James Dyson, the UK's richest man. (File/Reuters)
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Updated 20 September 2020

London councilor told worker ‘I do not like Muslims’ at major UK engineering firm

  • Kamaljit Chana also raised 9/11 and grooming gangs in one-to-one meetings with junior staff member.
  • UK’s Conservative Party has previously faced a number of allegations of Islamophobia from other councilors.

LONDON: An engineer at major UK engineering firm Dyson has won claims for religious discrimination and her unfair dismissal after her manager told her: “I do not like Muslims.”

Zeinab Alipourbabaie was a senior electrical engineer at Dyson, founded by British billionaire James Dyson. 

The 39-year-old Iranian resigned from her position in 2018 after a campaign of harassment, bullying and discrimination by a senior project manager, Kamaljit Chana, who also serves as a councilor for the Conservative Party in Harrow, London, The Sunday Times reported.

A Bristol employment tribunal found that in a 2017 meeting, Chana, who is Sikh, told Alipourbabaie that “Muslims and violent,” and “Pakistani men are grooming our girls.”

He also repeatedly excluded her from meetings and emails, criticized her unfairly to senior leadership and advised against her promotion, the tribunal was told.

She was recommended for promotion three times by her line manager without result.

The court ruled that her 2018 resignation amounted to constructive unfair dismissal due to Chana’s behavior. 

The judgment gave an account of Chana’s first tirade against Alipourbabaie, in which he “asked if she was a Muslim.” When she replied that she came from a Muslim family, he said that “he did not like Muslims...

“Mr Chana talked about 9/11 and said his family did not take flights anymore because they were scared…He went on to say Pakistani men are grooming our girls.”

Alipourbabaie, originally from Tehran, said Chana’s behavior “had a huge impact” on her life.

“I couldn’t sleep. It was like getting hit by a car or having an accident. Something I had no control over but [that] hit me hard,” she said.

Leaving her job put her British residency in doubt, though she later found new work at a major car manufacturer.

She hailed the British judicial system in a statement, saying: “Yes, it’s terrible what Kam did to me, it’s terrible what HR did to me, but it’s good that I’m in a good country with a justice system that I trust.”

Dyson said Alipourbabaie’s allegations were investigated fully and disciplinary action was taken against Chana, who was found to have acted inappropriately.

The UK’s Conservative Party has previously faced allegations of Islamophobia from members of the party, including other councilors.

In March, the Muslim Council of Britain submitted a dossier of over 300 allegations of Islamophobia to the UK government’s Equalities and Human Rights Commission.

The Conservative Party said it would investigate Chana’s case if it received a complaint.


Philadelphia curfew as anger boils over police killing of Black man

Updated 29 October 2020

Philadelphia curfew as anger boils over police killing of Black man

  • Thousands of people have taken to Philadelphia’s streets, with looting and violence breaking out, since police on Monday shot dead 27-year-old Walter Wallace
  • The US has seen a wave of protests and rioting since the police killing of George Floyd in May in Minnesota, when an officer was filmed pressing his knee to handcuffed Floyd’s neck

PHILADELPHIA: Officials in the US city of Philadelphia announced a nighttime curfew Wednesday following two nights of unrest over the latest police killing of a Black man whose family said suffered from mental health issues.
Thousands of people have taken to Philadelphia’s streets, with looting and violence breaking out, since police on Monday shot dead 27-year-old Walter Wallace, who was carrying a knife.
Wallace’s death and the subsequent demonstrations, in which riot police have used batons and shields to push back protesters throwing bricks and other debris, have reignited a political clash between Republicans and Democrats days before the election.
Philadelphia is the biggest city in the state of Pennsylvania, which is viewed as key to winning Tuesday’s presidential vote.
“It’s a terrible thing. What I am witnessing is terrible and frankly that the mayor or whoever it is that’s allowing people to riot and loot and not stop them is also just a horrible thing,” President Donald Trump told reporters.
The US has seen a wave of protests and rioting since the police killing of George Floyd in May in Minnesota, when an officer was filmed pressing his knee to handcuffed Floyd’s neck until he went limp.
Many of the protests have accused the police of racism and brutality, but Trump has focused on the unrest to bolster his claims to be the “law-and-order” candidate in his election battle against Joe Biden.
The Democratic challenger said it was “totally legitimate, totally reasonable” to protest peacefully.
“What I say is there’s no excuse whatsoever for the looting and the violence,” Biden told reporters after casting his ballot in his home state of Delaware.
Officials announced that the citywide curfew will last from 9:00 p.m. to 06:00 am (0100 to 1000 GMT Thursday).
Mayor Jim Kenney suggested other curfews may follow, telling reporters that decisions will be made daily on whether to implement one that night.
“I believe that as a certain percentage of people who abide by the curfew we’ll have less people on the street to deal with, which makes the job, and the safety of the officers better,” said Kenney, a Democrat.
More than 170 people have been arrested over the unrest, mostly for looting, according to police statistics.
Some 53 police officers have been injured, including one whose leg was broken when he was hit by a truck, while 17 police vehicles have been damaged.
Two officers shot Wallace around 4:00 p.m. (2000 GMT) on Monday afternoon after he refused to drop the knife as his mother tried to restrain him.
Phone video of the killing posted on social media showed Wallace push his mother away and then walk toward the police.
“Put the knife down,” one of the officers shouted in the video, which panned away as officers opened fire.
His family said he suffered from mental health problems and was on medication. Wallace’s father asked why officers did not taser him instead.
Police said they responded to a call about a domestic disturbance.
A lawyer for the family said Wallace was bipolar and the call to the emergency services was for an ambulance, not police.
Several hundred National Guard troops deployed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office are expected to arrive in Philadelphia beginning Friday.
Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw has launched an investigation into the shooting. The officers involved have not been identified.