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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 03:36 pm
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Published on Thursday November 15, 2012




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Customer STEVE RUSSELL/TORONTO STAR Faith McGregor, in front of the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay St, says she was turned away by a barber there because she's a woman, even though she wanted a man's haircut.



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Tim Alamenciak
Staff Reporter
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A request for a lunch-hour haircut has turned into a battle over human rights, pitting freedom of religion against a woman’s right not to be denied service based on her gender.

Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop on Bay St. in June to get a haircut — the “businessman,” short on the sides, tapered, trim the top. The shop, like many barbers in Toronto, doesn’t do women’s haircuts. But McGregor, 35, said she wanted a men’s cut.

Shop co-owner Omar Mahrouk told her his Muslim faith prohibits him from touching a woman who is not a member of his family. All the other barbers said the same thing.

“For me it was just a haircut and started out about me being a woman. Now we’re talking about religion versus gender versus human rights and businesses in Ontario,” said McGregor.

She filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario almost immediately, saying she felt like a “second-class citizen.”

Mahrouk’s response to the tribunal, provided through his lawyer David Kolinsky, doesn’t dispute McGregor’s complaint but says being forced to cut a woman’s hair would violate his freedom of religion.

“We live for our values. We are people who have values and we hold on to it. I am not going to change what the faith has stated to us to do. This is not extreme — this is just a basic value that we follow,” said Karim Saaden, co-owner of the Terminal Barber Shop.

He noted that it was a matter of adherence to faith, not a gender issue.

“In our faith, for instance, I can cut my mother’s hair, I can cut my sister’s hair, I can cut my wife’s hair, my daughter’s hair,” said Saaden.

The barbershop suggested a solution to McGregor toward the end of August, offering her a haircut from a barber willing to do so.

“It’s the principle of the matter so I turned down their lawyer’s offer and said, ‘No, I wish to continue with the tribunal,’ because this needs to be discussed and now it’s bigger than what occurred with me that one day, in one afternoon,” said McGregor.

She is asking the tribunal to force Terminal Barber Shop to offer its men’s haircuts to both genders, and suggests in her application that the shop post a sign indicating it serves both men and women. She is not seeking money.

The matter is one in an increasing number of “competing rights” cases seen by the Human Rights Tribunal, said Pascale Demers, a spokesman for the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which studies and develops rights policies.

The term refers to a situation where two individuals have a right, but there’s a conflict when both exercise it.

“There’s no hierarchy of rights under the legislation, so it’s not about one right necessarily trumping the other. It’s about looking at the facts of the case,” said Demers.

There is slim precedent in the area, said Demers, and this case could set an important one. “It’s useful because, as you know, Ontario’s population is increasingly diverse and these things are bound to happen.”

In addition to discussing religious freedom, Mahrouk’s response expresses concern that the complaint will force the shop to train its barbers to cut and style women’s hair, which is outside their skill set.

“I know that there is more money to make in hair salons for women than barbershops but because we’ve been barbers for so long, we chose to take over the business as barbershops and that is why we don’t cater to women,” said Saaden.

The parties will first try mediation, scheduled for next February. If that fails, an adjudicator will decide the outcome of the case.

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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 03:41 pm
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srossi

 

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They should be allowed to serve whoever they want, and it's certainly not unusual for barbers to only serve men for very non-religious reasons.  She wants attention, she got it.  Conratulations on being an attention whore who's wasting people's time.  I'm sure the Human Rights Tribunal has nothing better to do.  Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I've never heard of these people and the story emphasizes how quickly she called them, so this was a pre-planned stunt.  She had them on speed dial before she ever went to that barber. 

Last edited on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 03:42 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 03:59 pm
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srossi wrote: Maybe it's a Canadian thing
:?

Explain this part.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 04:01 pm
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srossi

 

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khawk wrote: srossi wrote: Maybe it's a Canadian thing
:?

Explain this part.

The Human Rights Tribunal.  I never heard of them.  Maybe they're popular in Canada.  Unless I'm missing something, it's not exactly logical to get denied a haircut and immediately say, "I'm calling the Human Rights Tribunal!"  That sounds like something you do when the North Koreans take away your passport and hold you hostage.  This woman knew what she was going to do weeks or months ago.

Last edited on Thu Nov 15th, 2012 04:04 pm by srossi



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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 04:03 pm
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srossi wrote: khawk wrote: srossi wrote: Maybe it's a Canadian thing
:?

Explain this part.

The Human Rights Tribunal.  I never heard of them.  Maybe they're popular in Canada.


Oh. Gotcha.

The woman is an attention-whore, no doubt.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 04:30 pm
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srossi wrote:
They should be allowed to serve whoever they want, and it's certainly not unusual for barbers to only serve men for very non-religious reasons.  She wants attention, she got it.  Conratulations on being an attention whore who's wasting people's time.  I'm sure the Human Rights Tribunal has nothing better to do.  Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I've never heard of these people and the story emphasizes how quickly she called them, so this was a pre-planned stunt.  She had them on speed dial before she ever went to that barber. 

This. Fucking attention whore.



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 Posted: Thu Nov 15th, 2012 07:34 pm
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My guess isn't that she knew she was going to get turned down and it was staged, but rather she had the Human Rights Tribunal on speed dial because this isn't the first time she's called them.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 09:32 am
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Married Jo wrote: srossi wrote:
They should be allowed to serve whoever they want, and it's certainly not unusual for barbers to only serve men for very non-religious reasons.  She wants attention, she got it.  Conratulations on being an attention whore who's wasting people's time.  I'm sure the Human Rights Tribunal has nothing better to do.  Maybe it's a Canadian thing, but I've never heard of these people and the story emphasizes how quickly she called them, so this was a pre-planned stunt.  She had them on speed dial before she ever went to that barber. 

This. Fucking attention whore.

Yeah, pretty much.

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 Posted: Fri Nov 16th, 2012 02:35 pm
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Very interesting case.  This is going to really throw the fascists of the OHRC for a loop.  They're long used to siding with Muzzies on any and all matters.  Even when they refuse to hear Muslim complaints, as in the Macleans case of a few years ago, they let it be known that they would have found Macleans guilty had they been bothered to hear the case.  But in this case, they've got another one of their interest groups -- homosexuals -- lined up in opposition.  It's going to really cause a headache for the Orwellian OHRC.  If the barbers in question were fundamentalist Christians the case would be quickly settled in favor of the lesbian, but this is going to take a little more tender consideration by the OHRC.



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 Posted: Sat Nov 17th, 2012 05:49 am
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