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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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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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To: Lorianne

Wow...Odinism.

Just shows though... Islam is incompatable with anything else.


51 posted on 09/13/2006 11:40:16 AM PDT by Silicon Cowboy
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To: chesley

Slight correction. You don't remember all of your Norse mythos, or you wouldn't have said that. Odin employed Valkyries, remember?


52 posted on 09/13/2006 11:40:27 AM PDT by Spktyr (Overwhelmingly superior firepower and the willingness to use it is the only proven peace solution.)
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To: MeanWestTexan
That was Thor, Odin's son.

Oh, right. I always did mess up my Norse gods and my Marvel characters and the DC Comics guys and ...

Anyway, what I clearly meant, was that Thor would defend his father. Yeah, yeah, defend his father. That's the ticket.

;)

Shalom.

53 posted on 09/13/2006 11:44:11 AM PDT by ArGee (The Ring must not be allowed to fall into Hillary's hands!)
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To: ExtremeUnction

Ping


54 posted on 09/13/2006 11:45:18 AM PDT by Silicon Cowboy
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To: Spktyr

"Odin employed Valkyries."

Yes, but Valkyries wore chain mail corsets that exposed . . . large tracks of land, so that is perfectly noble and completely different.


55 posted on 09/13/2006 11:45:58 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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To: TheKidster

Why would anyone worship a company? They do make good products;

http://www.onan.com/onan/index.jsp


56 posted on 09/13/2006 11:46:05 AM PDT by Hillarys Gate Cult (The man who said "there's no such thing as a stupid question" has never talked to Helen Thomas.)
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To: tallhappy
Odin. Yeah right.

Hmmm, disappearing muddy footprints are more likely the work of Loki!

57 posted on 09/13/2006 11:48:18 AM PDT by TC Rider (The United States Constitution 1791. All Rights Reserved.)
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To: Lorianne

Wotan vs. Mohammad round 1. Sigfried blows his horn to start the next round.


58 posted on 09/13/2006 11:50:49 AM PDT by rod1
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To: rod1
Wotan vs. Mohammad round 1. Sigfried blows his horn to start the next round.


Round One! FIGHT!!
Crom wins! Flawless Victory!
59 posted on 09/13/2006 11:53:46 AM PDT by TOWER
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To: ladtx

Kinda makes me want to sing a traditional Norse song that warms the heart.

Vítt er orpit
fyrir valfalli
rifs reiðiský,
rignir blóði ;
nú er fyrir geirum
grár upp kominn
vefr verþjóðar,
er þær vinur fylla
rauðum vepti
Randvés bana.

{See! warp is stretched
For warriors' fall,
Lo! weft in loom
'Tis wet with blood;
Now fight foreboding,
'Neath friends' swift fingers,
Our grey woof waxeth
With war's alarms,
Our warp bloodred,
Our weft corseblue.}


Sjá er orpinn vefr
ýta þörmum
ok harðkléaðr
höfðum manna ;
eru dreyrrekin
dörr at sköptum,
járnvarðr yllir,
en örum hrælaðr ;
skulum slá sverðum
sigrvef þenna.

"This woof is y-woven
With entrails of men,
This warp is hardweighted
With heads of the slain,
Spears blood-besprinkled
For spindles we use,
Our loom ironbound,
And arrows our reels;
With swords for our shuttles
This war-woof we work}


Gengr Hildr vefa
ok Hjörþrimul,
Sanngríðr, Svipul
sverðum tognum ;
skapt mun gnesta,
skjöldr mun bresta,
mun hjálmgagarr
í hlíf koma.

{So weave we, weird sisters,
Our warwinning woof.
"Now Warwinner walketh
To weave in her turn,
Now Swordswinger steppeth,
Now Swiftstroke, now Storm;
When they speed the shuttle
How spearheads shall flash!
Shields crash, and helmgnawer
On harness bite hard!}


Vindum, vindum
vef darraðar,
þann er ungr konungr
átti fyrri!
Fram skulum ganga
ok í fólk vaða,
þar er vinir várir
vápnum skipta.

[Wind we, wind swiftly
Our warwinning woof
Woof erst for king youthful
Foredoomed as his own,
Forth now we will ride,
Then through the ranks rushing
Be busy where friends
Blows blithe give and take.]

Vindum, vindum
vef darraðar
ok siklingi
síðan fylgjum!
Þar sjá bragna
blóðgar randir
Guðr ok Göndul,
er grami hlífðu.

["Wind we, wind swiftly
Our warwinning woof,
After that let us steadfastly
Stand by the brave king;
Then men shall mark mournful
Their shields red with gore,
How Swordstroke and Spearthrust
Stood stout by the prince.]

Vindum, vindum
vef darraðar,
þars er vé vaða
vígra manna!
Látum eigi
líf hans farask ;
eigu valkyrjur
vals of kosti.

[Wind we, wind swiftly
Our warwinning woof.
When sword-bearing rovers
To banners rush on,
Mind, maidens, we spare not
One life in the fray!
We corse-choosing sisters
Have charge of the slain.]


60 posted on 09/13/2006 11:56:33 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Kol Hakavod Lezahal)
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