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Toronto barber shop won't cut women's hair on religious grounds

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Toronto barber shop won't cut women's hair on religious grounds

Faith McGregor has filed a complaint with the OHRC against the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay Street because she was refused service. The barber says it's against his religion to touch a strange woman.Sean Gibson, of the Ontario Barber Association, wrote a letter in defence of the barber. IMAGE 1 OF 2
Lesbian denied 'businessman's cut' launches complaint to OHRC
All she wanted was a haircut.

But when Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop at Bay and Dundas streets, she was shocked to hear from the owner that no barber at the shop would cut a woman’s hair because it goes against their religious beliefs.

McGregor has since filed a complaint about the June incident with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).

The shop wasn’t busy that day, she says, and two barbers were standing at the back of the store. “I asked, ‘Do you do a businessman’s cut?’ It’s a basic haircut. They said they do.”

After describing the cut, owner Omar Mahrouk stopped her. “He just looked at me and said, 'I can’t do that. We don’t cut women’s hair here.'”

McGregor says she was shocked. “I just wanted the exact same cut as they would give a man. Nothing different.” The 34-year-old dyke says she always gets her hair cut at a barber shop, not a salon.


Mahrouk told her “it’s against his religion” to cut a woman’s hair, she says. Mahrouk and two other barbers refused, all saying they practise Islam, which forbids them to touch strange women, she says.

For his part, Mahrouk admits that he denied McGregor service. “I can cut my wife’s hair, but not a strange lady. For me this is not discrimination. I explained that I have nothing against woman. This is my religion. She did not accept it.”

The Ontario Human Rights Code states that business owners can’t deny service based on sex.

“The law is the law, but this is my religion. But I am not discriminating against anyone,” Mahrouk insists. “It is against my religion.”

On the surface, the Human Rights Code says Terminal Barber Shop appears to have discriminated against McGregor based on her sex.

But it’s not that simple, says Pascale Demers, communications officer for the OHRC. This is a case of competing rights: the individual right of a person not to be discriminated against based on their sex or gender and the right of a person to hold religious beliefs.

“Generally speaking, services that are offered to the public should be made available to everyone without discrimination, based on sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, disability,” Demers says. “Each side will bring forward a defence that their rights trump the other.”

She says it’s a case that presents new terrain for the Tribunal. “We have been unable to find any cases like this. It’s unique. It will be looked at in an individual context, each with its own unique set of evidence. The tribunal will make a decision based on its set of facts presented to them.”

No rights are absolute, Demers says, and there is no hierarchy of rights.

“We look at cases individually,” she says. “We have to look at ways both sides can be accommodated. But, absolutely, there will be instances where one side will be dissatisfied, though they are claiming a right.”

If the Tribunal finds that the barber shop violated McGregor's rights, it could order a monetary settlement or order the shop to implement a set of “public remedies,” such as ordering the shop to offer services “in a way that is considered non-discriminatory.” That may involve hiring additional staff, for example, she says.

“It’s not a punitive process per se; it’s about bringing the person back to a place that is not discriminatory.”

If Mahrouk fails to comply, she says, the shop “could keep facing complaint after complaint, and it could eventually get costly.”

Mahrouk says that if he is forced to serve women he will have to change his occupation.

His lawyer, David Kolinsky, says denying service on religious grounds is valid. Still, even without the religion factor, barber shops have traditionally been men only.

“I understand she wants the same type of haircut that would be provided to the male patrons, but it’s more complicated than that,” he says. “She wants the barber shop to be compelled to provide service to all women. That goes well above the skill set and training of these barbers.”


But McGregor says that’s not true. “I am not asking that the shop start servicing all women, regardless of the type of cut requested.”

If a woman asks for a service they already provide, they should not be turned away, she says.

“It seems they are extending the scope of my complaint,” she says. “My specific request was for only the exact same cut they would provide to a man . . . We are no different from the neck up.”

“I would not expect the shop to start cutting the hair of my female friends with long hair, colours or perms.”

Sean Gibson, of the Ontario Barber Association (OBA), wrote a letter in defence of Mahrouk explaining why the distinction between “barber” and “hairstylist” justifies Mahrouk's discrimination against women.

Gibson says barbers should have the autonomy to decide because barber shops have traditionally been male-only spaces.

“In certain countries, men just service other men for religious reasons. It’s not that they don’t want to service women, but because of their religious beliefs they can only cut the hair of other men,” he explains. “While that may seem archaic, it’s understood. The history goes back to men-only bathhouses in ancient Greece. That’s where barber shops started. They were only places for men.”

Still, Gibson says Mahrouk did not intend to discriminate in a malicious or disrespectful way, but “perception is everything.”

“He was unable to service her because of his religious beliefs. So it’s a discussion of what’s more important: obliterating his religious beliefs or serving this young lady? Denying his rights or denying her rights.”

“She can still get service, maybe not from this specific place, but I’m sure one of our [OBA] members would be glad to cut her hair,” he adds.
 
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Comments

from india with madness
dear chumpa wumpa, the fungus ergot must be extra potent on the rotting bread in mudhi perdesh. all my lurve, baba rum raisin
INDIAN WOMEN HAIRCUTTING/HEADSHAVINGM
Although I am a hindu woman .It was a time 100 years ago when all indian women always like to wear the long hairs and they have never show their privacy parts to any male barber but our hindu culture is most peculier because after the death of husbands ,the widows women are being forced to let male barbers to do the head shaving and complete body shaving even the facial shaving of the indian women every week in which indian widow sit before mal;e barber in nuded position and male barber is allowed free to massaged their breasts and full body nude massaging of the indian widows.On other side, the indian women is enjoyed very much and they get fucked from their male barbers .However old aged woment of age 50 to 80 years and more are allowed in hindu culture to get cut their hair short bfrom their male barbers.Similarly, all hindu women are allowed to get shaved their armpits and breasts by calling male barbers at home.
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but now our indian cultural is completely changed. now there remained only 25 % who wear long hair and have never get cut their long hair but 30 % young generation and even 10 % old aged indian women get trimming their hair upto bra line and slightly above breasts nipple from the male barbers by sitting in nuded position before male barbers and also get breasts massaging and unwanted hair shaving from the male barbers. Remaining 35 indian women ie 10% widows and 25 % modern indian women now get their short bobbed cut cutting and headshaving from the male barbers.
i THINK THAT THERE IS NO HARM if indian women get cut their hair short from their male barbers as it will be easy to do domestic works and saving of time in dressing their long plaitbof hair.Similarly there is also no harm if indian women get their breasts massaging and privacy shaving from their male barbers. the getting of weekly breasts massaging from the male barbers will safe them from breasts cancer and breasts will become most big, stiffed&
err
Islamo-Phobia —some fears are justified
Phobia means fear —not hatred. But some fears are justified. Although Phobias, or irrational fears, may have prevented many people from experiencing life to the fullest — rational and irrational fears have saved many people from harm. For example if one hears the rattle or hissing of a snake, a flight response —fear— may save one’s life. We have been hearing the rattle of snakes for decades now in the form of explosions all over the world. The killing of innocent civilians in markets, temples and streets in Muslim lands have instilled fear all over our collective globe. That base religious vengeance has been exported to North America, Europe, Africa, where every six weeks another Muslim extremist plot is foiled —but too many are not detected in time. The “Toronto 18” were also thankfully stopped before they hit. Fear of Muslims is not unjustified —especially the ones who proudly promote Political Islam through the wearing of the Hijab (head covering), Niqab (full face covering), pyjamas and other paraphernalia in the middle of any Western city, where they stick out like a sore thumb. These people don’t want to assimilate into Canadian life. Then what do they want here? People who hide behind masks when it is not Halloween may cause fear. Niqab or bank robber’s ski mask —what’s the difference? Islamophobia may well be a “rational fear” given the suffering caused by Islam worldwide. Islam was spread through the sword since the 6th Century. Their swords have been upgraded to AK-47s and explosives, but their ideologies have remained the same —as written in their “holy” book. As a Gay man I do fear that they may throw that “book” at me. I fear travelling to any Muslim country as those cultures are not only Homophobic, but they also hate us rationally, as shown by their treatment of LGBT people. Then how do those devout “Niqabiahs” who walk Canadian streets as if they were in a Saudi village, feel about LGBT people. “Muslims don’t vote for Gays.” What else?
islamophobia or homophobia
"shocked
Totally shocked at the level of Islamophobia i..."

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it's not islamophobia when they really are trying to kill you. how many people do you know who are openly gay in a muslim country? do you know of any mosques that accept us the way mcc does in any country? do you think any gay muslims you know here could be open in a muslim country or any mosque anywhere at all?
ladies breasts massaging by male barbers in india
Most of the village women of the east Punjab are not wearing bras under their blouses because they have do work in the farm fields under scorching heat all the day. The running sweeets wet their all clothes and body and also wet their breasts.Their breasts also become most pulpy and soft.the dust sticked fully in their hair and they dont find any time even once in a month to get washed their hair and get massaging of their breasts from the village male barbers.Hence the village male barber visit once or twice in a week at the persian well in the field farms by carrying two pitchers full of curds, lassi alongwith haircutting kits.The village women go there at persian well and sit in the hose The village barbers first shave their half head from nape upto mid head near sides burns.they then wash the
ladies hair and upper body with lassi and curds very well.After this,they shave their underarms,breasts and privacy parts of the village ladies and also do the breasts massaging of the village women very hard.The male barbers also twisting ladies breasts in order to break the dead tissue and making circulation of blood inside breasts very well .The male barbers also draw all the dried drops of milk from their breasts in order to finish the breasts cancer small glands in order to safe village ladies from diseases of breasts cancer for ever.The ladies breasts become most stiffed, big and well errected. The village women are not feeling any shame in getting such erotic services from the village male barbers as it is a vouge and cultral life of east punjab.(Chumpa Devi)
Haircut Denied; A Compromise?
I gather that the barber shop in downtown Toronto had more than one barber. I gather that all the barbers had the same religious issues. It suggests that the owner also discriminated in his hirings as well.

Perhaps the court could direct all commercial businesses open to the general public to ensure that at least some of their staff be able to provide, in this case, barbers who did not have religious issues about cutting the hair of a woman.
Barber's religious grounds excuse sounds like BS
I'm siding with Faith McGregor. The fact is this barber has his business open to the public in downtown Toronto so he should serve all public.

I find it surprising that this barber would not be in physical contact with unrelated women on crowded buses or trains, in stores (to pay for something to female cashiers for example), or in other situations -- especially in a country where public gender-based segregation is not a norm, and women don't wear niqabs. Do you see the inconsistency here? He's operating his business in downtown Toronto, isn't he?

The "religious grounds" excuse sounds like a bunch of BS. Religious customs can be interpreted differently by various groups of people -- it's a mistake to assume this man represents all Muslims.
Let me get this straight...
It is acceptable for a Muslim doctor to allow a woman to bleed to death because he can't touch her...? A firefighter cannot carry a woman from a burning building because he has to touch her? Where do you draw the line on doing a job?
are there no workhouses for these people
A prayer for Bill Whatcock. "O Bored, please clamp a cilice around his withered genitals so he may know the pain of the holy mary cunt as she expelled the little bugger of god and let him wake from his sleepwalk of Papist enslavement and pay a good psychiatrist to slap a Community Treatment Order on him before he does further harm to fellow Canadian civilians. In the name of the Blither, the Scum and Scary Ghost."
My Doctor is Muslim; I have seen him touch women
@Bill-What-TF- LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL, LOL !!! The Supreme Court did give you the right to be so retarded, so go ahead and have your say —“no matter how heinous.” Just know, that so many people are laughing at what you wrote. You are wasting your time on this site. You are not wasting our time, because we find you very entertaining. In actual fact, “this lady Faith McGregor” never lost her “womanhood.” It is in every cell of her body and: breasts, ovaries, eggs, uterus... And the Government of Canada gave her the right, in writing, to practice her Homosexuality, not only alone, but in wedded bliss with someone of her own choosing —not your. She just wanted a simple haircut. A business open to the public cannot discriminate about who they serve. Besides that...There are Muslim men who even refuse to talk to women, not because their religion directly forbids it, but because their religion indirectly implies that women are inferior. Muslim men feel superior to women. Imagine hiring one of those Muslim men to work in a department store as a sales clerk —and they refuse to talk to 51% of the population? It's their religion they may claim —but it's not. My doctor is a Muslim man and an excellent doctor. I have seen him talk to and touch women at a clinic. If a Muslim doctor can do it, then why can't a barber? Is it the education level?

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