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8 I LOCAL & NATIONAL NEWS Passion Islam I October 2009
UK hoteliers charged for
taunting Muslim guest
Two British hotel owners face criminal the couple were charged with using
charges for taunting a Muslim woman “threatening, abusive or insulting
staying at their hotel by comparing words” which were “religiously
the headscarf she was wearing to aggravated,” the Daily Mail reported.
“bondage” and insulting the prophet The couple denied the charges
of Islam. and said the guest challenged their
The incident took place in March at Christian beliefs and said they were
the Bounty House Hotel in Liverpool just defending themselves. The couple
when the unnamed Muslim guest face a hefty fine of £5,000 (around
came down to breakfast wearing $8,000) and a criminal record if they
a hijab, or headscarf, for the first are convicted.
time in her four-week stay, shocking The Muslim woman had been
hoteliers Ben, 53, and Sharon, 54, staying at the hotel while receiving
outpatients due to the bad publicity.
Vogelenzang. treatment at a local hospital, which
Dutch-born Ben Vogelenzang and
The Vogelenzangs are reported to regularly refers outpatients to them.
his wife Sharon say they have already
have started a debate with her about The Vogelenzangs, who have
lost 80 percent of their bookings
Islam and went on to call Prophet been running the hotel for six years, The couple are receiving financial
Muhammad a “warlord” and described say they have already lost 80 percent support from the Christian Institute
the hijab as a form of bondage. of their bookings and have been and have been warned not to talk
Months after the incident the forced to put their hotel up for sale about the case until it reaches court
guest complained to the police and as the hospital has stopped referring in December.
Muslim ‘abused by RAF Officers’
A Muslim RAF medic claims he was posted with a specialist unit The OEIT again took over the
called a “terrorist” and “Paki” and British-born AB, who is of Pakistani investigation, which is now expected
was allegedly assaulted by superior origin, returned to RAF Northolt in to finish interviewing witnesses next
officers while on duty in Afghanistan, northwest London and was signed off month.
a tribunal heard. as sick shortly after. He launched a The tribunal heard that
A sergeant also allegedly grabbed formal complaint in August 2007. investigations should normally be
the medical officer by the throat in front Jude Bunting, representing AB, completed within six weeks. Harper
of colleagues in a racially motivated told the court there were claims said the delays were due to difficulties
attack, the employment tribunal in against two people in particular, one in tracking down more than a dozen
London was told, and the armed of whom was the commanding officer witnesses, some of whom were only
forces’ failure to properly investigate of the unit in question, and the claims known by their nicknames. Others
the 2007 incident amounted to a further were of a verbal and physical nature. had now left the military.
instance of racial discrimination. He said AB had been called a He said the OEIT investigation
Details of the alleged abuse terrorist, Paki and grabbed by the was halted while the CIB inquiry was
suffered by the man, known only as throat.The EOIT initially investigated under way.
AB, can now be reported after a judge the case and then passed it on to Bunting told the court that the
partially lifted restrictions relating to the Specialist Investigation Branch medic had suffered bad dreams every
some witnesses for possible criminal proceedings. In night and increased anger towards the
During cross-examination Warrant summer 2008, some 10 months after military due to its inability to complete
Officer Nicolas Harper of the RAF’s the initial complaint, Harper said he the investigation. “You failed to
equal opportunities investigation inquired about the progress of the investigate the case with reasonable
team (EOIT) accepted the alleged SIB investigation only to be told that a dispatch,” he suggested to Harper.
abuse was of a “particularly serious report was still in preparation. “You failed to keep AB informed. You
nature” deserving of an “expeditious He was then sent on a posting simply wanted to cover it up.”
resolution” to the Falkland Islands returning in Harper denied that was the case
Details of the Afghanistan incident March this year. In February this adding that he volunteered to work
were heard in private but it is year the SIB ruled that there was in the investigations unit because he
understood it took place in Helmand insufficient evidence to proceed with “felt strongly about these issues in the
province in 2007 where AB was any court martial. military”.
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