Muslim Barber Shop Case Settled in Secret With Woman Who Filed Complaint

My article “Lesbian Denied Haircut by Male Muslim Barbers” got some attention. I was interviewed by Peter Boyles on “The Peter Boyles Show” that broadcasts out of Denver on 710 KNUS. You can listen to it here.

The Canadian barber story got international attention when the Muslim barbers of the Terminal Barbershop refused to cut the hair of a woman who happens to be a lesbian. Here’s part of a report from

“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.”terminal Barber Shop-logo

As is usual in these cases, McGregor “filed a complaint with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario almost immediately, saying she felt like a ‘second-class citizen.’”

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If she wanted to feel like a first-class citizen, then she should have gone to a different barber. No one was stopping her from getting a hair cut where she felt most comfortable.

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Mahrouk’s lawyer “doesn’t dispute McGregor’s complaint but says being forced to cut a woman’s hair would violate his freedom of religion.”

Since reporting on the story, the latest news is that “the issue has been quietly resolved. . . . Both Ms. McGregor and Mr. Mahrouk signed a confidentiality agreement that bars them from sharing any details.”

Is McGregor going to get her haircut from the Muslim barbers who, because of religious reasons, are not permitted to cut the hair of a woman if she is not a family member? We don’t know. It’s my guess that pressure was put on McGregor to drop the complaint for fear of protests and possible reprisals from the large Muslim population in Toronto. “In the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), 7.7% of the population is Muslim, making GTA the highest concentration of Muslims in any city in North America.”

Mind you, it’s just a guess.

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