Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christians Can Wear a Cross at Work, Says Human Rights Court

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Christians Can Wear a Cross at Work, Says Human Rights Court

Article excerpt

Byline: Martin Bentham and Miranda Bryant

CHRISTIANS today won the right to openly wear a cross at work in a major ruling by the European Court of Human Rights.

The decision centres on a part-time member of British Airways' check-in staff from Twickenham who was sent home for wearing a crucifix. Nadia Elweida, 61, said: "Oh my God. I'm so pleased for Christians in the United Kingdom who now have rights. When I heard the verdict I was jumping for joy and saying 'Thank you Jesus'. "

Judges said BA had violated her rights under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights which says that religious freedom is one of the "foundations" of democratic society. The court in Strasbourg said Ms Eweida, whose claims of mistreatment had been rejected by British judges, had been discriminated against and should be paid [pounds sterling]1,600 compensation and [pounds sterling]24,000 in costs.

Ms Eweida, a Coptic Christian, said: "It's a vindication that Christians have a right to express their faith on par with other colleagues at work visibly and not be ashamed of their faith."

David Cameron and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu both welcomed the ruling. Writing on Twitter, Mr Cameron said: "Delighted that principle of wearing religious symbols at work has been upheld -- shouldn't suffer discrimination due to religious beliefs." Dr Sentamu said Christians and those of other religions should be free to display their faith.

Today's verdict came in a ruling on three other cases brought by British Christians over alleged discrimination against their faith. In one, nurse Shirley Chaplin lost her claim after the judges decided that her NHS employers were justified in banning her cross on health and safety grounds.

Islington registrar Lilian Ladele, who refused to conduct civil partnerships, and Relate counsellor Gary McFarlane, who was sacked for refusing to give therapy to gay couples, also lost their claims. …

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