UK: Army settles with Muslim Major in discrimination case

With a compensation, a letter of praise and a vow to learn lessons from the issue, the British Army has settled the case of a Muslim Major who sued for racial and religious discrimination over lack of appreciation for her role in rescuing British soldiers in Iraq in 2005, the Telegraph reported on Tuesday, June 10.

"Dear Major Siddique, I recognize the part you played in the incident on September 19 2005 at Jamiat police station in Basra," Chief of the General Staff Sir Richard Dannatt wrote to Major Rabia Siddique.

"I would like to express, on behalf of the Army, my pride at the courageous manner in which you conducted yourself on that occasion and the other work you did in Iraq, for which you received the Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service."

The letter came as part of a deal that settled the case of Siddique, 36, who sued the Ministry of Defense for religious, race and sex discrimination.

Major Siddique accused the army for denying her proper recognition for her role in freeing two British soldiers held by militiamen at the Jamiat police station in Basra in September 2005.

As the only Arabic-speaking soldier, she played a key role in the stand-off.

But while another white male officer in the six-strong negotiating team was awarded the Military Cross, Siddique only received a "hug" from her commanding officer.

She had sued the Army last year, demanding £650,000 in compensation.

A confidential, last-minute settlement was hammered out on Monday, June 9, as her case was due to be heard by a tribunal in central London.

The agreed-upon compensation figure was not revealed.


Army chief Dannatt has vowed that the military establishment would learn lessons from the episode.

"The Army will consider carefully your perception of the way that you were treated in the period that followed the al-Jameat incident with a view to ensuring that appropriate lessons are learnt," he wrote to Siddique.

Siddique, an Australian-born British citizen who is still a serving member of the Army, is leaving soon to become a civil lawyer.

She is satisfied with the settlement that guaranteed recognition of and appreciation for her services.

"I am disappointed that matters came to this but content now to be able to move on," she said.

"I am also pleased to hear what the Chief of the General Staff has said about lessons that may be learnt, which is primarily what I was seeking by bringing these claims."

The Ministry of Defense had used Siddique's picture in posters to attract racial minorities' recruits to the army service.

There are some 330 Muslims serving in the UK military - including 250 Army soldiers.

Source: Islam Online (English)

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