Both working in big English cities, Manchester and Birmingham. Both with a sectionality, one a gay man, one a Muslim woman (that’s actually two, intersectioning).
One going by the name of ‘Tom’ the other Mahdiyah.
Back in March Tom telephoned Talk Radio and spoke to presenter Cristo Foufas. Tom told of an incident where a mosque in Manchester, which he did not name, refused to allow him entry to attend to a heart attack patient as they discerned, correctly, from his piercings and style of dress within the limits of his uniform, that he is openly gay. To quote from the original article in the Star (now removed)
‘…the man told him: "What’s your sex? You look funny… (Gay) No, you can't come in my mosque." . . . another paramedic was called to the scene in a car . . . Tom didn't name the mosque where he alleged this took place but said he had complained and North West Ambulance Service had spoken to the Imam.
I’ve been threatened, I’ve even had emails sent to work saying they would quite happily decapitate me on the side of the road…
Tom says he has been on "hundreds" of calls to Muslim homes that have been free of incidents and the homophobia he experiences is in a minority of cases.
The radio station and the newspaper spoke to the ambulance service trust. Tom meanwhile didn’t answer any more calls from the radio station.
Cristo Foufas said
‘ “We couldn’t get in touch with him (Tom)…. Now that could be that we’ve been duped. It could be that his story was an absolute load of rubbish and that the trust I have when people call this show was broken and that my team were duped by that call. And we were I’m really sorry. It could also be …. perhaps he wasn’t using his real name and he doesn’t want to be contacted because of the fact that he was essentially telling us about an aspect of his work, and as you know I’m passionate about challenging homophobia, and that could be the reason why we couldn’t get in touch with him.”
I didn’t get to hear the radio clip before it was taken down. But if the radio presenter who actually spoke to him, live, believes that there is a possibility that he isn’t using his real name, and now feels the need to keep a low profile because of homophobia I feel inclined to trust the presenter. They don’t get to be experienced radio presenters without learning how to weigh up a caller and judge a hoax.
The Manchester Council of Mosques and the Oldham Council of Mosques denied knowledge of any such incident taking place. The North West Ambulance Service said it didn’t happen either, and that they value their good relations with the ‘faith leaders’ of Oldham and the NW.
The Centre for Media Monitoring, who promoting "Fair And Responsible Reporting Of Muslims And Islam" said their "investigation found this demonisation of mosques was made up" and "Basic checks would have prevented this dangerous lie being spread".
Therefore the Star and Talk Radio removed the story and the Star published a ‘clarification’ yesterday. I was told this was fake news and should be removed but I am with Cristos and ponder whether Tom is scared for his job and his personal safety.
If this is the case he probably doesn’t feel that he has the backing of his union, or the gay organisations who have often said that they stand with Muslims against fascism, while turning a blind eye to the suffering of men and women in Iran and elsewhere. Tom has nothing like Tell MAMA or CfMM to stand his corner.
Unlike Mahdiyah Bandali of Birmingham who spoke to the Metro yesterday.
Mahdiyah Bandali, 22, says she has foul-mouthed Islamophobic abuse hurled at her on an at least fortnightly basis – even while saving people’s lives. She revealed patients have called her a ‘f******g p**i’, even while wearing her paramedic uniform.
‘But I’ve experienced abuse multiple times within my career.’ Mahdiyah believes it happens about once every fortnight, and sometimes multiple times on each shift. She claimed she had even faced racist comments from members of the healthcare profession. ‘I’ve received abuse not just from patients, but wider NHS staff as well,’
She takes time from her busy working life to tweet about the racism she alleges that she has faced via her account HijabiParamedic
"It was horrible to see the report on racism come out and dismantle all of what I said."
That would be the report by the Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities chaired by Dr Tony Sewell which found "no evidence" of institutional racism in the UK but believed that social class and family structure had a bigger impact than race on how people's lives turned out.
This hasn’t gone down well with the race relations industry, as you can imagine.
But with all the race relations and Islamic organisations behind her Miss Bandali has the confidence to carry on reporting her truth. I doubt if the Metro have interrogated the West Midlands Ambulance Service as to whether the incidents she describes ‘really happened’
Do you have a record of them? Yes or No??
Or the same of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust. Who are these NHS staff abusing this plucky young paramedic?? How have they escaped diversity training?? Answers! Now!
No, her complaints are accepted at face value and she is believed by the Metro and their readers.
As Dr Sewell said in the report he chaired, "no one is saying racism doesn't exist". This is the most recommended comment to the Metro article, and a very sensible one, in my opinion.
How sad that these young paramedics that do such an important job have to face such ignorant idiots, hope they never need a paramedic can you imagine the uproar if they said will not treat such a person
Sadly it seems only some people can have the courtesy of being believed.