Christian sues UK scouting organization after being expelled for criticizing fully-veiled Muslim scout leader

(Reuters/Charles Platiau)In France, Hind Ahmas wears a niqab despite a nationwide ban on the Islamic face veil outside the courts where she arrived with the intention to pay a fine after she was arrested last May for wearing the niqab in public, in Meaux, east of Paris, September 22, 2011.

A man from Bristol, U.K. is taking legal action against the Scout Association after he was expelled from the organization when he criticized a female Muslim leader for wearing a niqab while canoeing with girl scouts.

Brian Walker, 63, an assistant Explorer Scout leader, claimed that he was discriminated against on the account of his Christian faith after he raised concerns that the Scout Association was increasingly promoting Islam and moving away from its Christian roots.

The former scout leader complained to Scouting magazine after it featured a Muslim scout leader who wore a niqab.

"Canoeists don't dress like this; they need all-round unobstructed vision so they protect the group. They will most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent," Walker wrote, as reported by The Sun.

The woman, only known as Zainab, responded by saying, "It's not about being Muslim, it's about being human."

Zainab contended that wearing the veil does not hinder her in any way and that she has received positive comments while she was out on hikes.

Walker's letter to the magazine was unpublished, but the editor had replied to denounce his remarks.

The Scouting Association fired Walker from his role as assistant Scout leader last March, saying he had breached some of the organization's key values, including integrity, respect, care and co-operation.

Walker, who has been a Scouts member for more than half a decade, appealed the decision at an Appeal Committee on June 7, 2017, but his attempt was not met with success.

He stated during the appeal hearing that he did not mean to offend anyone personally with his remarks, noting that he was only "making a wider point about the values of Scouting."

He said that as a father of a child with Asperger's, he understood the need for inclusion and would have no problem working with a Scouting group with Muslim or LGBT children.

During his review hearing, Walker insisted that scouting "should stick to its Christian traditions." The scout leader also said that he had objected to the magazine's efforts to encourage scouts to attend Pride festivals.

A spokesperson for the Scout Association has said that the organization has been made aware of the issues raised by Walker, but it declined to comment specifically on the case due to unspecified legal reasons.

"Inclusivity is at the heart of modern scouting and is a value we hold dear. We welcome young people and volunteers from all communities across the UK and we are proud of our inclusive approach to youth work," the association said.

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