Customer sues Muslim barber for refusing to cut her hair

TORONTO — In case of competing rights, a Toronto woman has lodged a complaint against a barber who refused to … Continued

TORONTO — In case of competing rights, a Toronto woman has lodged a complaint against a barber who refused to cut her hair because he’s Muslim.

In June, Faith McGregor requested a man’s haircut at the Terminal Barber Shop in downtown Toronto. Co-owner Omar Mahrouk told her that his Muslim faith prohibits him from touching a woman who is not a member of his family. All the other barbers in the shop said the same thing.

“For me it was just a haircut and started out about me being a woman,” McGregor, 35, told the Toronto Star. “Now we’re talking about religion versus gender versus human rights and businesses in Ontario.”

She has filed a complaint with Ontario’s Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario because the incident made her feel like a “second-class citizen.”

McGregor is not seeking monetary damages, but wants the tribunal to force the shop to offer men’s haircuts to both genders.

“In our faith, I can cut my mother’s hair, I can cut my sister’s hair, I can cut my wife’s hair, my daughter’s hair,” shop co-owner Karim Saaden told The Star. “We are people who have values and we hold on to (them). I am not going to change what the faith has stated to us to do.”

McGregor rejected an offer from the shop to find a barber to cut her hair.

“It’s the principle of the matter…This needs to be discussed and now it’s bigger than what occurred with me that one day,” she told the newspaper.

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  • denizen108

    This is a question of who’s human rights were violated, the woman wanting a haircut, which she could have gotten anywhere, or the Muslim haircutter’s? I would say that this woman was trying to violate the haircutter’s human right to not have to cut the hair of anyone, anytime, upon demand. The haircutter has a human right to follow the belief system of his choice- and this belief system forbids him to touch any woman who is not a family member. The haircutter referred her to someone who had no such restriction. SO WHAT’S HER PROBLEM?

    I’m an old school feminist too. But rights are go both ways, kids.

  • Prawda

    I believe the service provider has the right to refuse service, but it should be posted out front.

    As in my religious beliefs don’t allow me to give haircuts to women.

    Her problem is that it wasn’t posted.

  • randomjournalist

    The man runs a private business, not a government agency. It is the height of ridiculousness for the woman to file this lawsuit. I’m not Muslim, not religious, and I’m what most people would call a liberal.

    Granted, there is a degree of discrimination here in purely technical terms. But there’s also a question of religious freedom. There is nothing mean-spirited in the barber’s refusal to cut her hair. So let’s have a little common sense instead of litigious bull, eh?

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