The Times - UK (2020-10-14)

(Antfer) #1

18 1GM Wednesday October 14 2020 | the times


An academic claims that he was forced

out of the Oxford Centre for Islamic

Studies because he was “not Muslim

enough, straight enough or British

enough”, an employment tribunal has

been told.

Kevin Fogg, 37, a former research

fellow at the centre, has begun tribunal

proceedings on the grounds of unfair

dismissal, age discrimination and

indirect discrimination due to sexual

orientation. He claims that he was

sacked because his gay relationship up-

set the establishment’s Saudi backers.

Dr Fogg, an Islamic studies expert,

had been at Yale University. He was

employed at the centre, on a five-year

contract, until September 2018. The tri-

bunal has been told that the American

Claims that employers have discrimi-

nated against gay, lesbian and trans-

gender workers have more than

doubled over the past five years.

Sexual orientation cases have risen

from 188 in 2015 to 499 last year,

according to analysis of data from more

than 120,000 employment tribunal

claims. The figures, revealed after a

freedom of information request, show

Islamic studies fellow sacked

‘for being bisexual American’

Fariha Karim is bisexual and was in a gay partnership
while working at the centre, a “recog-
nised independent centre of the Uni-
versity of Oxford”.
He wrote to his mother in December
2016 after being told that his contract
would be extended by a year instead of
the five-year minimum he had expect-
ed. He said: “I am feeling pretty sour
about the idea that I have been held
back in this process because I am not
Muslim enough, straight enough, or
British enough (unlike the previous fel-
low, who sailed through the process on
fewer publications and less teaching).”
His claims were disclosed in The
Times last week. He condemned
Islamophobes yesterday who appeared
to have weighed in on the case at the
start of the tribunal. “I want to recog-
nise that this is a case which brings up

very sensitive issues,” he said. “It’s
important for me to emphasise that it is
not a case against Islam... This is a case
which I’ve brought very specifically
because my former employer didn’t
comply with UK employment law, as I
understand it in the UK. I want to
condemn Islamophobia in all of its
Dr Fogg said that discrimination on
the grounds of sexual discrimination
was different to other protected charac-
teristics such as “age, race or national
origin” because these “wouldn’t be a
reason to be jailed in the countries of
my research”.
The centre, under Farhan Nizami,
the director, has said that it “completely
rejects Dr Fogg’s wild allegations of
discrimination, which have no basis in
fact”. The case continues.

Claims of LGBT bias double in five years

significant rises across most areas.
Claims based on disability increased
over the period from 3,470 to nearly
8,100 while allegations of discrimina-
tion on the grounds of religion and be-
lief more than doubled.
Race discrimination claims nearly
doubled as did the number of women
bringing actions for pregnancy-related
claims. Sex discrimination cases rose by
a modest 15 per cent, from 5,380 to
about 6,190. Age discrimination was

one area where claims fell — by more
than 80 per cent to about 2,400 cases.
Campaigners claimed the figures
showed alleged victims were feeling
more confident about bringing legal
action. Legal experts pointed out that a
significant reason for the overall rise
was a Supreme Court ruling in 2017 that
the fee structure in the tribunals was
unlawful. The charges of up to £1,
had led to a 70 per cent drop in the num-
ber of tribunals in England and Wales.

Jonathan Ames Legal Editor


t was perhaps, in
the words of one
observer, “the
greatest living
thing to grace a
Yorkshire cricket
pitch since Geoff
A hoopoe — a bird
mainly native to
Africa and Asia —
that had flown farther
north than normal
on its annual
migration drew 50
photographers to
Collingham & Linton
Cricket Club, West

Yorkshire, on Sunday
(Ben Webster writes).
About 100 of the birds,
which have long,
pinkish-brown crests,
turn up each year in
Britain, mainly on the
south coast, but have
been reported as far
north as Shetland.
Lynnette Cammidge,

one of those who
photographed the bird,
told The York Press:
“It wandered around
oblivious that people
were there and they
had gone especially to
see it. I heard one
photographer say he’d
come from Sheffield. I
was really surprised by

Visitor to

pitch hits


for six

The hoopoe at Collingham & Linton Cricket Club in

Free download pdf