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is this the same hema?

March 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Last week, in Belgium, a woman was fired by hema, a dutch company, because she rejected taking off her headscarf. She is not non-western or of immigrant origin, but she is a native belgian, just converted to islam.. And hema kicked her off due to some complaints by their customers, who are disturbed by her headscarf..

Wow! See, how customer-friendly hema is!

Interestingly, a couple of years ago, same company had initiated a campaign “el-hema”. During the campaign, they¬†presented and advertised some products in arabic, sold some typically arabic items etc. and published an image of a young women with headscarf on their ads. I think it was¬†to promote multiculturalism and to praise differences in the society. (Of course, the main idea behind was to take the advantage of two muslim holidays and make money out of it.)

So, what has changed since then? What’s wrong with hema now? I do not think it’s changed.. They just distunguish between headscarved customers and headscarved hema staff.. The first group is always welcome as customers, the second group is not, because of complaining customers.. It’s all about their customer-friendly nature of the company..

This distinction between staff and customers, or buyers and sellers, if you like, is very much parallel to the Turkish distinction between those receiving public service and those serving for the public. Some of our freedom defender liberal intellectuals argue that, the former group should be free to wear headscarf, but the latter one should not, because they are expected to be neutral. (I could write for pages, on this stupid idea of human neutrality.)

And to conclude, I should say, that’s not the first case of hema about headscarf.. I know that a friend of my friend is also asked to remove her headscarf to work in hema (in the netherlands).. If she had publicized that event, or at least gone to the court and accused them of discrimination, she would have won the case, for sure..

Long live customer-oriented world!

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Categories: islamophobia Tags: , , , ,