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Muslim GP claims discrimination over prayer row

15 May 2009

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A Muslim doctor from Leeds who was dismissed from her job claims she was discriminated against on religious grounds because she wanted to attend a mosque for prayers every Friday, a tribunal has been told.

Doctor Musarrat Syed-Shah, 31, is alleging religious discrimination and victimisation against four partners from the North Leeds Medical Practice after her partnership agreement was terminated on 8 August last year.

The employment tribunal in Leeds heard that Dr Syed-Shah claims the other doctors were “unhappy” about her attending the weekly prayers.

Michael McDonough, for Dr Syed-Shah, told the tribunal: “They were unhappy with her attending the mosque for Friday prayers and they applied a condition to her which was not applied to anyone else by saying they were not allowed to leave the surgery between sessions.”

Mr McDonough continued: “Following the notice of termination on 8 August, she was expressly forbidden from going to the mosque from 8 August till the end of her contract.”

Dr Syed-Shah also claims she was victimised after refusing to see both her own and another GP’s patients while covering for that doctor’s surgery.

Mr McDonough said the amount of patients meant Dr Syed-Shah would have had to see one person every five minutes, which she refused to do.

“She was asked to take on another doctor’s surgery, which would have involved her doubling up on patients,” he said.

The solicitor added that Dr Syed-Shah also suffered repetitive strain injury, which she believed was as a result of undertaking four-hour telephone consultation sessions with patients.

She claims complaints about these health problems also led to her victimisation at the practice.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

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“Saying our prayers is a personal matter. It does not mean shirking on our worldly responsibilities!” – Name and address withheld