Dentists as moral arbiters

The BBC yesterday reported that a Muslim dentist in Bury, near Manchester, has been brought before a disciplinary tribunal accused of demanding that a Muslim woman wear a hijab to his practice if she wanted to be treated (HT: UZ). He allegedly told her she could not register with his practice unless she covered her hair, a rule he apparently only applied to Muslim women. There is more on this at the Manchester Evening News, which I found via Dhimmi Watch, having expected that he would pick up on this.

Now, I don’t know which side is telling the truth. The dentist, Dr (?) Omer Butt, claims that he did not refuse to treat her, but used his religious ethos as a marketing tool, offering discounted or free treatment to Muslim women who wore the hijab. She claims she was taken to an X-ray room on arrival and told the rules, and agreed to them, but left after being told she must return to the surgery wearing the headscarf provided.

If the truth is as the woman alleged, the fact is that the dentist has no business using his practice to act as religious policeman over the Muslim women in his town. He is a healthcare provider; for good or ill, we don’t live in an Islamic state here and it’s not up to Muslims to force other Muslims, at least those not under their care such as their children, to abide by the Shari’ah. His job is to provide dental care, end of story. No doubt male Muslim dentists treat non-Muslim women all the time, some of them in far worse states of undress. Surely a Muslim lady, even if not practising and without her hair covered, would have been a pleasant change!

People should realise that we are lucky to live in this country where wearing hijab is no bar to receiving medical treatment or education. That isn’t the case in some countries, both in Europe and in the Muslim world. If Muslims do stupid things like this, they play into the hands of those who wish to see the end of hijab altogether, and would use healthcare and education as a weapon in that campaign.

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