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The Extraordinary Case Of The Pagan And The Multicultural Prayer Room
National Secular Society ^ | Wed, 13 Sep 2006

Posted on 09/13/2006 10:47:08 AM PDT by Lorianne

An extraordinary — one might almost say unbelievable — industrial tribunal case in Manchester in March gave a rare insight into how attempts to accommodate “multicultural” religious needs at work actually appear only to apply to Muslims. It developed around a spat between Muslim employees at the Royal Mail and a member of the Odinist Fellowship (a group that apparently worships the old Nordic gods).

The case — Royal Mail group PLC versus Donald Holden — was described in a document posted on the TUC website by Robin Jackson, the information officer of the Odinist Fellowship, who attended both days of the hearing. Mr Jackson reported:

“Many of you will be surprised, as I was, to learn that, increasingly, employers with a large proportion of Muslim staff are being obliged to set aside rooms in the workplace for Muslim prayers, and to allow their employees to take time away from their duties to engage in these prayers. At the Mail Centre where Donald worked, there was just such a room, which was designated as a ‘Multicultural Room’. That is important, because never, at any time, did the Royal Mail claim that the Room was solely for Muslim use, or that non-Muslims might not use it for their own purposes.”

Mr Holden tried to use the room for his own religious purposes – which is ostensibly what it was for – but it quickly became apparent that it was, in reality, a Muslim Club Room, full of Korans and prayer calendars. Mr Holden left sheets of paper about Odinism in the room, on a chair by the sink.

One item of evidence at the tribunal was a book which required users of the room to sign for a key on entering and leaving. Mr Holden’s visits were always of short duration, and mainly on a Saturday, when the place was mostly empty. Mr Jackson takes up the story:

“I was able to see for myself, that certain names and signatures, evidently belonging to Muslim employees, recurred time and time again in the signing-in book, sometimes three or four times in a single shift, and that the duration of their stays was half an hour or more. Some would call this ‘skiving’.”

Obviously Mr Holden’s use of the room was not welcomed by the Muslim employees and eventually an anonymous complaint was made to the management that a “muddy footprint had been left on the carpet of the Multicultural Room.” As Mr Jackson reports: “What could this mean? There could be only one possible interpretation: quite clearly, the culprit had intended to attack the Muslim religion. And not only was it, self-evidently, an anti-Muslim footprint, but on closer examination it became obvious that it must have been an anti-Islamic boot; and no doubt that anti-Islamic boot had been wielded by an Islamophobic foot. And who else could that Islamophobic foot belong to? The principle suspect had to be Donald, of course!”

Incredibly, the Royal Mail set up hidden cameras in the room to trap the culprit who was causing the ‘damage’. After five months of this surveillance – no doubt costing thousands of pounds – the management admitted that they had nothing on Mr Holden. In fact, during the tribunal hearing, no-one could be found who had actually seen the muddy footprint.

But the Royal Mail management did see Mr Holden in the room, leaving his literature on the chair by the sink and briefly appearing to pray. Then, on 23 February 2005, Mr Holden was hauled before the Royal Mail management to explain his actions. He was unsure at this point what he had done that needed explanation. None of the managers could agree what exactly his offence had been. Nevertheless, despite the vagueness of it all, he was suspended from work, accused of “religiously aggravated harassment directed against the Muslim faith”.

The investigating officer claimed it was because he was leaving his Odinist literature in the room, and suggested to Mr Holden that he was not a real believer and that there was no such religion as Odinism. He also confiscated Mr Holden’s religious literature and destroyed it. Imagine what would have happened if he had done that to Islamic literature!

However, Mr Holden’s suspension from the Royal Mail continued, and after a failed appeal, he eventually took action under the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003. The Royal Mail then dismissed him. He had worked for them for thirty-three years with a completely unblemished record. He lost his pension rights and his livelihood. And all because, the Royal Mail said, he walked on the carpet in the “Multicultural Room”, with his shoes on.

The Tribunal heard this tale with incredulity and decided that Mr Holden had been unfairly dismissed, and ordered the Royal Mail to pay a substantial compensation package likely to run into six figures.

Another outcome of this extraordinary case is that Odinism is now a legally recognised religion – and, by extension, so so are all pagan religions


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: diversity; govwatch; libertarians; multiculturalism; odin; odinism; rop; trop
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1 posted on 09/13/2006 10:47:10 AM PDT by Lorianne
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To: Lorianne
Odin. Yeah right.
2 posted on 09/13/2006 10:52:01 AM PDT by tallhappy (Juntos Podemos!)
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To: Lorianne
It developed around a spat between Muslim employees at the Royal Mail and a member of the Odinist Fellowship (a group that apparently worships the old Nordic gods).

Sounds like the plot line from a Monty Python skit.

3 posted on 09/13/2006 10:52:14 AM PDT by ladtx ("It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." -- -- General Douglas MacArthur)
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To: Lorianne
The Law of Unintended Consequences at work for you.
4 posted on 09/13/2006 10:52:26 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum (Islam Factoid:After forcing young girls to watch his men execute their fathers, Muhammad raped them.)
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To: Lorianne

LOL!


5 posted on 09/13/2006 10:52:36 AM PDT by McGavin999 (Richard Armitage is a sniveling COWARD!)
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To: Lorianne

Odinism is all well and good, but I hear you can go blind from it.


6 posted on 09/13/2006 10:52:45 AM PDT by ClearCase_guy (The broken wall, the burning roof and tower. And Agamemnon dead.)
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To: Lorianne

I'm a born again pagan.


7 posted on 09/13/2006 10:53:06 AM PDT by agooga (Thank God I'm an atheist.)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Odinism is all well and good, but I hear you can go blind from it.

No, no -- that's ostracism.

8 posted on 09/13/2006 10:54:20 AM PDT by ladtx ("It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it." -- -- General Douglas MacArthur)
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To: Lorianne

Crom...


9 posted on 09/13/2006 10:54:28 AM PDT by TOWER
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To: Lorianne
I'd say the Muslims ought not to mess around with this guy.


10 posted on 09/13/2006 10:56:14 AM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican (The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on......)
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To: Lorianne

I salute this person. Yes, his "Odinist" faith is pure bunk, but, by golly, if there's going to be a prayer room at the office, it had better be open to prayers of any kind.

Six-figure revenge. Sweet.


11 posted on 09/13/2006 10:59:29 AM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: ClearCase_guy

No that's Onanism and I'd wager that's what those fellows taking 3 or four trips into that locked room are practicing!


12 posted on 09/13/2006 11:00:50 AM PDT by TheKidster
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To: Lorianne

This sounds like a job for the Viking Kitties.

}:-)4


13 posted on 09/13/2006 11:02:07 AM PDT by Moose4 (Dirka dirka Mohammed jihad.)
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To: Lorianne

My employer in Monroe, MI set up a prayer area, complete with foot washing station, for the muslim employees. 90 percent of the afternoon shift are muslims who commute from Dearborn, MI. The company set up the prayer area after complaints of the muslims washing their feet in the rest room sinks.


14 posted on 09/13/2006 11:02:27 AM PDT by mouske
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To: B-Chan

Yeah, the only way it could have been better is if the guy had been a Satanist. Then the Powers That Are would get stuck between their hatred of Christianity (and thus feelings of alliance with the guy), and their desire to promote Islam over everything else (which would make them want to fire him).


15 posted on 09/13/2006 11:06:40 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: ClearCase_guy

"Odinism is all well and good, but I hear you can go blind from it."

Only in one eye.


16 posted on 09/13/2006 11:07:12 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Lorianne

I don't suppose by any chance that Odinists use pigs as sacrificial animals, do they?


17 posted on 09/13/2006 11:07:15 AM PDT by RichInOC ("SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!")
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To: Southside_Chicago_Republican
Wow, first Allah, now Odin...only a matter of time before this guy gets his due...


18 posted on 09/13/2006 11:07:40 AM PDT by akorahil (Thank You and God bless all Veterans. Truly, the real heroes.)
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To: B-Chan

Many Odinists probably retire early.


19 posted on 09/13/2006 11:08:42 AM PDT by polymuser
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To: MeanWestTexan

Nice.


20 posted on 09/13/2006 11:09:36 AM PDT by ahayes ("The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion." -- Prov 28:1)
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To: Lorianne

"This is our Multiculteral Room. Our Muslim employees use it for prayers"
"Why not call it the Muslim Room?"
"Then people would feel they couldn't use it"
"Why else can use it?"
"Well, no one really but that's beside the point"
"Well, what is the point?"
"The point is that you ask too many questions"


21 posted on 09/13/2006 11:11:35 AM PDT by AppyPappy (If you aren't part of the solution, there is good money to be made prolonging the problem.)
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To: tallhappy
Odin. Yeah right.

There is at least one FReeper in that camp. I can't remember his screen name, but no doubt he and perhaps a few cohorts will show up here...

22 posted on 09/13/2006 11:11:46 AM PDT by null and void (Islamic communities belong in Islamic countries.- Eric in the Ozarks)
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To: Lorianne; tallhappy
The investigating officer claimed it was because he was leaving his Odinist literature in the room, and suggested to Mr Holden that he was not a real believer and that there was no such religion as Odinism.

I don't usually like these Internal Affairs types, but in this case he seems absolute correct.
23 posted on 09/13/2006 11:11:51 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever! ouch)
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To: Southside_Chicago_Republican

Who, Boris Vallejo? ;)


24 posted on 09/13/2006 11:13:02 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever! ouch)
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To: Xenalyte

Why not?


25 posted on 09/13/2006 11:13:42 AM PDT by ahayes ("The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion." -- Prov 28:1)
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To: Lorianne

Threw out his literature?
That'd make any Odinist get plenty Thor.


26 posted on 09/13/2006 11:14:15 AM PDT by Syberyenta
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To: tallhappy

There is a small but vibrant Odinism movement in the UK. There is also a very small, about twenty or so, Odin-worshippers in Grass Valley, California - the Sacramento Bee did a bit of coverage on them a couple years ago. Regardless, if the man entered a "multicultural" room and not a mosque then there was no offense in wearing his shoes. The real offense is that the UK taxpayers are funding a defacto mosque in a Royal Mail facility.


27 posted on 09/13/2006 11:14:41 AM PDT by PeterFinn (Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.)
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To: Spktyr
Yeah, the only way it could have been better is if the guy had been a Satanist.

Uhhhh, here's a tip:

REAL Prophets climb mountains to be closer to God.
They don't crawl into holes to hear the hissings of the Serpent.

IOW, Satanists were already involved in this case...

28 posted on 09/13/2006 11:15:00 AM PDT by null and void (Islamic communities belong in Islamic countries.- Eric in the Ozarks)
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To: Lorianne

Actually quite a bit of Loki seemingly at work here - we ought not be so quick to dismiss


29 posted on 09/13/2006 11:15:41 AM PDT by Hegewisch Dupa
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To: ahayes

IA guys are like HR. They're there for the good of the company.

I have no problem with that. That's cool, and that's what they're hired to do.

I do have a problem with the way they present themselves as "we're here to help you," because 99.8% of the time, they're not.


30 posted on 09/13/2006 11:15:44 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever! ouch)
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To: Lorianne

Odinist-type pagan earth-worshippers (i.e. neoliberals) and Islamists must be quite opposed to each other. More so, IMO, than to believers in the god of Abraham.


31 posted on 09/13/2006 11:16:13 AM PDT by polymuser
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To: Hegewisch Dupa

I love loki. The white chocolate raspberry truffle is the BEST.


32 posted on 09/13/2006 11:16:17 AM PDT by Xenalyte (who is having the best day ever! ouch)
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To: tallhappy
Odin. Yeah right.

Better watch it, tall, or you'll get beaned with a hammer.

Shalom.

33 posted on 09/13/2006 11:16:45 AM PDT by ArGee (The Ring must not be allowed to fall into Hillary's hands!)
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To: ClearCase_guy
Odinism is all well and good, but I hear you can go blind from it.

I understand Odinist women wear mail corsets that are quite form-fitting and, therefore, totally unacceptable in a Muslim prayer room.

Shalom.

34 posted on 09/13/2006 11:17:38 AM PDT by ArGee (The Ring must not be allowed to fall into Hillary's hands!)
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To: Xenalyte

They'd better watch out for him, too.


35 posted on 09/13/2006 11:18:04 AM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican (The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on......)
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To: PeterFinn
Regardless, if the man entered a "multicultural" room and not a mosque

Straight on- if he had gone in there with a mirror to worship himself there would have been no right to abuse him.

He would have been stuipd, however, because he could do the same thing over at the DNC and get paid to do it, but that's beside the point.

Shalom.

36 posted on 09/13/2006 11:20:32 AM PDT by ArGee (The Ring must not be allowed to fall into Hillary's hands!)
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To: akorahil
Throw in Odin's wife, and we've got almost half the week covered.

This thread is becoming an Odinist shrine.

37 posted on 09/13/2006 11:21:57 AM PDT by Southside_Chicago_Republican (The moving finger writes and, having writ, moves on......)
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To: Xenalyte

No, I meant why do you say there is no such religion as Odinism?


38 posted on 09/13/2006 11:24:32 AM PDT by ahayes ("The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion." -- Prov 28:1)
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To: Lorianne

But substitute any other word or religion for Odinist and it sums up the same, perpetually offended Muslims expecting - and receiving - preferential treatment. Suppose Mr. Holden had left his Bible or Torah in the room? I think the result would be the same. Are all users of the multicultural prayer room supposed to remove their shoes before entering? Is this clearly indicated, as many other religions do not require removal of shoes? We do know that Mr. Holden did have the audacity to use a room designated for prayer by all, but understood as prayer for one group only.


39 posted on 09/13/2006 11:27:53 AM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: AppyPappy

Exactly.


40 posted on 09/13/2006 11:28:27 AM PDT by fortunecookie
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To: ArGee

Shalom to you, too.


41 posted on 09/13/2006 11:28:40 AM PDT by PeterFinn (Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for.)
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To: ArGee
Better watch it, tall, or you'll get beaned with a hammer.

Shalom.


Mjolnir
42 posted on 09/13/2006 11:30:38 AM PDT by Talking_Mouse (wahhabi delenda est)
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To: Southside_Chicago_Republican
It's just safer not to mess with those dudes.

"Hold still - this won't hurt a bit!"

43 posted on 09/13/2006 11:31:03 AM PDT by AnAmericanMother ((Ministrix of Ye Chase, TTGC Ladies' Auxiliary (recess appointment)))
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To: ahayes

And my grandfather said he didn't see any reason why his grandson, a nice Jewish boy, should waste college credit taking a class on European pagan religions.

Ha! I proved him wrong with that trivia!

(First time the class was of any use besides getting me a date with this really tall Swedish chick.)


44 posted on 09/13/2006 11:33:06 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: MeanWestTexan
(First time the class was of any use besides getting me a date with this really tall Swedish chick.)

Well I hope the class was worth it right there.

45 posted on 09/13/2006 11:34:09 AM PDT by ahayes ("The wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are as bold as a lion." -- Prov 28:1)
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To: ArGee

"Better watch it, tall, or you'll get beaned with a hammer."

That was Thor, Odin's son.

Odin would probably sick a bird on you, or just lift his eyepatch and fry you.


46 posted on 09/13/2006 11:35:14 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: Southside_Chicago_Republican

47 posted on 09/13/2006 11:35:40 AM PDT by kitchen (Over gunned? Hell, that's better than the alternative!)
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To: tallhappy

Oh, come on. Odin is at least as valid a god as allah. No less blood-thirsty, of course, but at least he's willing to swing the axe himself, and not ask women and children to do it for him.


48 posted on 09/13/2006 11:38:23 AM PDT by chesley (Republicans don't deserve to win, but America does not deserve the Dhimmicrats.)
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To: ahayes

"Well I hope the class was worth it right there."

It was. She was, save for Mrs. MWT, the only girl I ever dated that didn't require me to completely pretzel my back to kiss her when standing.

For reason unknown, really short chicks always dug me, and I was afraid I would smush them accidently.


49 posted on 09/13/2006 11:38:26 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: null and void

Not so much. Remember, Satanists are into blood sacrifices.

Pigs are a particular favorite.

Now, put those two together... and imagine that the hypothetical Satanist wished to sacrifice a pig in a ceremony in that room on his lunch hour....

Think about where that would have lead. :)


50 posted on 09/13/2006 11:39:14 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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