A Muslim dentist made a young woman wear an Islamic headscarf before treating her for toothache. A hearing with the General Dental Council will determine whether he can continue his job with the National Health Service.
A community nurse who had a toothache went to see the dentist Omer Butt, 31, at his dental clinic in Bury, Greater Manchester. She said that she was a non-practicing Muslim, after which the dentist insisted she to wear a headscarf. He said without it, he won’t register her as an NHS (a free public medical service for UK citizens) patient. Since she was in obvious pain, she reluctantly agreed to wear a headscarf. She borrowed it from the nurse at the clinic.
The lady then said the dentist began to quote sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, and told her to wait in the waiting room. She felt humiliated and left the clinic immediately, filing a complaint about his behavior with the General Dental Council.
Butt denies these allegations of religious discrimination and failing to provide her with the service. If the council finds him guilty, Butt’s name will be taken off the doctors’ register.
Butt responded in writing after he received the charges, saying in the letter the patient was his “sister” and wrote: “May Allah protect us all from the evils of Shaitan [Satan].”
John Snell, General Dental Council member, said Mr. Butt asked her if she was a Muslim and she asked him why it mattered here. He said he needed to know before working on her teeth.
The nurse apparently told the patients it is Butt's world inside the room and his orders had to be followed.
Andrew Hockton is defending Butt and Butt asks Muslim women to cover everything except their hands and face to protect his honor.
This incident occurred in 2005, so why it took them so long to deliberate this case, I am not sure. This could be an isolated incident, but if there is a pattern maybe Butt is guilty.
Butt is working in Britain which is not a Muslim country, so he can’t expect everyone to follow his religious practices. Since she told him she is a Muslim, he may then have asked to wear a scarf, as it is immoral for them to touch or look at another married woman. He may have asked only the Muslim women to wear a scarf not everyone. Even then he cannot force people to wear against their wishes.
I have some Muslim friends in the UK and I have asked them more about this case. Updates will be posted after I hear from them.