Muslim engineer falsely accused of wishing death on British troops wins payout

Muslim engineer falsely accused of wishing death on British troops wins payout
A Muslim engineer was falsely accused of holding 'extremist' views and reported to Prevent, which he took to a tribunal and won a case for discrimination.
3 min read
07 April, 2021
springfield Fuels, where Mo worked [Ian S/Wiki Commons]

A Muslim man has won a religious discrimination claim after a tribunal found that reports made by his employers claiming he said British troops in the Middle East "deserved to die" were baseless.

Mo Master had been an engineer at Springfield Fuels in Preston, Lancashire for 28 years when he was accused of having "extremist views" by several of his superiors.

Springfield Fuels produces fuel for nuclear power plants.

Master's manager, Tim Berry, reported him in 2018 as a potential security risk to the head of security, Simon Johnson.

Johnson in turn filed a report to the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) in January 2018, which forwarded the complaint to the government's Prevent anti-radicalisation programme.

Berry told the tribunal: "Mo had changed. They [other colleagues] said that recently he had become a lot more outspoken, that he would say British troops in the Middle East deserved to die.

"He would be quite vocal about Allah whereas before Allah was rarely mentioned, and he was prepared to voice opinions whereas before he would be quite quiet about things."

Master was not told about the report, and he took voluntary redundancy in February 2018 with a payment of £70,000.

Police visited him in May 2018.

The tribunal found Johnson had reported accusations against Master as "fact" rather than "unsubstantiated rumour".

The judge concluded that if Master had not been Muslim, the rumour would not have been reported to the ONR.

"We note that there is no explanation for the circulation or persistence of the rumour," Judge Leach said.

"There is no evidence at all about when this comment was supposed to have been made by Mr Master, where it was made, the context in which it was made, who made it, who it was made to and who reported it."

Controversial strategy

The British government’s Prevent strategy has been considered controversial since its inception in 2003.

In January, British police were sent to the home of a four-year-old Muslim boy after he discussed the popular Fortnite video game at an after school club, according to a report by The Guardian at the time. 

Recent figures show that just 11 percent of Prevent referrals were deemed to be legitimate radicalisation risks.

Earlier this year, the strategy was again brought under the spotlight when William Shawcross – who presided over the UK's leading charity watchdog while it was strongly accused of anti-Muslim bias by right groups – was appointed to spearhead a review of the programme.

Shawcross is on record for having made several contentious comments about Islam and Muslims.

While serving as the director of the neo-conservative Henry Jackson Society think-tank in 2012, he promoted the idea that a clash of civilizations is underway between Europe and Muslims, saying that "Europe and Islam is one of the great, most terrifying problems of our future".

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