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Religious discrimination grievance? AIBU

(88 Posts)
Namechangedforthisdrama1 Fri 04-Dec-15 10:22:04

So a colleague of mine is a lovely woman, we often go out for lunch together and are very close. she is however, very very religious and pushy of her religion, I had my dd out of wedlock and she continued to tell me throughout my pregnancy that I must get married and the baby will grow up with no morals ect..

Anyway the other day we were discussing her marriage, she had an arranged marriage which meant that She had to give up uni (years into a medicine degree) to bring her husband to the UK and and then had To work at a part time job at my work, she always talks about this but says it's her path to take ect.

She has lost 12 babies and I have been there for her throughout, she has openly admitted it's due to 'genetic' issues as her husband is her first cousin, I went to see her when her son tragically passed a few months ago in hospital and she was destroyed, but her husband has forced her to keep tying (she gets pregnant usually a month after mc)

I was talking to her about this but she has told me that in her religion you must have many children or you are a failure, I said to her that it was not her fault - and not her fault that she has been made to be with a first cousin and have children with him.

She then told me about her sister who has been getting abused by her husband for 20 years, I asked her why her sister hadn't left this man, she was horrified at the idea and said you can't leave a marriage that is terrible why would I suggest this etc..

Then I asked what her parents thought of this, she said 'they are trying to keep the peace and they can't let her leave him as they would be looked down on by the community' she said this was the plan for her sister and she had to deal with it as that was the man that had been chosen for her.

This made me angry, I have been in an abusive relationship and when my dad found out I'm pretty sure he wanted to kill the man. I also thought of my daughter being forced to put up with an abuser from the age of 17 scared I would disown her if She left.

I told her that her parents were idiots if they thought that and if that's what there religion is about then in my opinion, I can't see why anyone would want to be a part of it. I said that to watch her sister be abused for 20 years is horrendous and her parents should be protecting her above there 'rules'

Anyway I have since found out that she has put a complaint in against me to HR and said I discriminated against her and her religion.
We have since continued at lunch and being friends and I am shocked to find out she has done this.

So WIBU? I have no issue against her religion, just against what was going on. I don't know what to say to her or to HR.

wasonthelist Fri 04-Dec-15 10:26:22

she continued to tell me throughout my pregnancy that I must get married and the baby will grow up with no morals ect.

This person isn't your friend.

TonySopranosVest Fri 04-Dec-15 10:30:32

Firstly you need to stop having lunch with her or speaking to her at all other than about work matters. I'm amazed you haven't already done this.

Have you been told the details of the complaint?

Namechangedforthisdrama1 Fri 04-Dec-15 10:34:07

I haven't seen her since i found out about the complaint. I haven't been told all the details, I've got a meeting on Monday about it.
I've always shrugged off anything she said to me about religion, and am shocked she's put in the complaint as we were close.

TwoSmellyDogs Fri 04-Dec-15 10:37:09

You're not of the same religious persuasion as her? Then you never were and never could be close.

TonySopranosVest Fri 04-Dec-15 10:42:02

OK, then just try and not worry too much about it until you know the full details.

Look, you haven't discriminated against her - you're not in a position of authority over her are you? You have merely disagreed with something she said. You can certainly bring up the things she has also said to you.

I very much doubt this will go anywhere to be honest so try not to worry.

Whatdoidohelp Fri 04-Dec-15 10:43:43

Stay away from her. I don't think you can be friends with someone who is super religious if you do not follow the same religion. She gave you her opinion and you gave her yours. I hope it won't be taken any further but do stand up for yourself.

MammaTJ Fri 04-Dec-15 10:46:36

Oh my goodness.

I think you need to take advice urgently as racism and discriminating against people because of their religion is rightly taken very seriously. I am not saying this is what you have done, but that is the complaint she has made and you need to defend yourself against it.

I do find it shocking that this family support abuse and continue to encourage her to get pregnant in the name of 'religion' but I am also pretty sure whatever God exists, whatever name it is called by does not support abuse and pregnancies that can only do harm and never have a good outcome! Has she even had genetic counselling?

kissmethere Fri 04-Dec-15 10:50:50

The circumstances of her and her sisters situation was shared by her to you and your opinion isn't something that is an option for her, due to her religion, family said etc.
Your advice is ludicrous to her. Tell HR the things she has said to YOU in the past re child wedlock, child growing up with no morals.
I agree with you btw.

specialsubject Fri 04-Dec-15 10:53:00

some friend...

stop all non-essential contact. Why are you spending any time with her when she has spat bile at you for so long?

give a full account to HR. It's not discrimination, you said something about her religion she didn't like. Fortunately in the UK that is not punishable.

oh, and she's in the UK. There are services and ways out of her situation if she wants to take them.

AkkerDemik Fri 04-Dec-15 10:58:52

Can I put another perspective on this? I (white British) work with many Muslim women, and whether you agree with it or not everything she has told you is true. It's not religion as such that says she has to have an arranged marriage, that's cultural - but it runs very very deep.

they are trying to keep the peace and they can't let her leave him as they would be looked down on by the community' she said this was the plan for her sister and she had to deal with it as that was the man that had been chosen for her.
I've heard this so often and I weep inside, but it's the culture in that community.

I told her that her parents were idiots if they thought that and if that's what there religion is about then in my opinion, I can't see why anyone would want to be a part of it. I said that to watch her sister be abused for 20 years is horrendous and her parents should be protecting her above there 'rules'
That was just downright insulting to her. Talk to her about her beliefs and those of her culture, explain why you don't agree and how difficult you find it to accept, but don't tell her her parents are idiots.

I'm sorry but in equality and diversity terms, and at a personal level, what you said is extremely offensive.
I'm not getting at you, you didn't know the context of what you were saying, and I'm just trying to explain. But the key here is communication. If you want to carry on being her friend, first off you really should apologise, and then try to engage with her about her beliefs and explain more about yours, so that this doesn't happen again.

howtorebuild Fri 04-Dec-15 11:01:45

Thank goodness this woman left her medical degree. What a dysfunctional family she has there. shock

Complain about her religious discrimination and ignore the weirdo.

Mistigri Fri 04-Dec-15 11:08:46

Akker are you for real? If that's offensive, then what the "friend" said to the OP about her child is also offensive, and the OP could quite reasonably go ahead and put in a grievance herself.

Being a member of a particular culture or religion doesn't give you unique protection from being offended, and tbh I see no particular issue with what the OP said - which is essentially to recommended that the parents stop aiding and abetting a criminal offence.

Ohbehave1 Fri 04-Dec-15 11:09:48

Oh no. The good old Equality and diversity comment.

So you have to agree with someone about their beliefs even when it is putting someone (her sister) at risk.

And to say it is offensive. When are we going to stop dropping the O word because we don't like or agree with what someone says. You don't have to like what they say. But to be offended in my mind shows you are unable to accept that the other person has a point of view.

TiredButFineODFOJ Fri 04-Dec-15 11:10:42

I have to say that what she tells you fits with what many women say is their reality.
I don't think you should worry too much about the grievance if you are clear on the following points-
1) that you didn't intend to cause upset or offence
2) you often have conversations were you voice your different opinions, this is the nature of your chats- explain the background
3) this is the most important one- you are so upset that you upset her, and are happy to go for mediation to reslove things or do what you can to mend things and move forward.
The point of a grievance is to try to repair things. It often does not work, but when it's done well and it works- it really works.

rosie1959 Fri 04-Dec-15 11:11:16

I would have found her comments about your children growing up without any morals because you are not married quite offensive
Appears she can dish it out but not take it
I would keep well away from someone who's views are so one sided

Ohbehave1 Fri 04-Dec-15 11:11:45

Akkerdemik. I wouldn't encourage any form of engagement with this Unenlightened woman. All you will do is give her more fodder for frivolous complaints.

KeepOnMoving1 Fri 04-Dec-15 11:15:56

You both were equally offensive to each other!

Daisysbear Fri 04-Dec-15 11:21:41

She's being ridiculous and her complaint has no legs to stand on. Does she understand what the word 'discriminate' actually means. She may have found what you said offensive, but if everyone who finds themselves defending their religious beliefs to colleagues went running to HR with complaints can you imagine the results?

kissmethere Fri 04-Dec-15 11:23:50

Have to say had these types of conversations and had the other person be very disappointed on not agreeing with their traditional way of life, eg letting my DH treat me like a servant, put my needs last, even thinking of having a social life outside the family amongst many other things.
Sometimes people see your points of view and way of life as alien.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

HereIAm20 Fri 04-Dec-15 11:24:43

I think write out your original post in bullet form to take with you so that if you find the meeting stressful or emotional you can refer back to it if need be.

I don't think you have been discriminatory but people get the hump about all sorts of things. You were much the bigger person in not letting her views on your situation get to you.

Good luck and try not to worry,

Birdsgottafly Fri 04-Dec-15 11:25:12

She can't claim that you insulted her religion, because it isn't her religion, it's the way that they practice it, you insulted.

If that happens have someone help you with your case

She isn't lovely, she thinks it acceptable to come out with claptrap about morals and ignore someone being abused.

I mix with a lot of Muslims and have never heard these insults put forward under the guise of "Religion".

What made you think she ever was "lovely", because her manner is meek?

Mide7 Fri 04-Dec-15 11:27:21

I agree akkerr. What the Op's friend was offensive as well but if the OP didn't take offence to it then it's not really a big deal.

Also agree you need to cut any contact that's not urgently needed.

Hoppinggreen Fri 04-Dec-15 11:32:49

Well whatever your opinion it's not really discrimination is it because that means treating her differently because of her religion and it doesn't sound as if you have done that. A lot of what she has described is nothing to do with religion either, it's cultural.
Distance yourself from her, she isn't and never was your friend.

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