[LINK] "Toronto barber shop won't cut women's hair on religious grounds"
Xtra!'s Andrea Houston reports on an anti-discrimination case recently brought against a barber in Toronto on the grounds that he refused to cut a woman's hair.
All she wanted was a haircut.
But when Faith McGregor walked into the Terminal Barber Shop at Bay and Dundas streets, she was shocked to hear from the owner that no barber at the shop would cut a woman’s hair because it goes against their religious beliefs.
McGregor has since filed a complaint about the June incident with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC).
The shop wasn’t busy that day, she says, and two barbers were standing at the back of the store. “I asked, ‘Do you do a businessman’s cut?’ It’s a basic haircut. They said they do.”
After describing the cut, owner Omar Mahrouk stopped her. “He just looked at me and said, 'I can’t do that. We don’t cut women’s hair here.'”
McGregor says she was shocked. “I just wanted the exact same cut as they would give a man. Nothing different.” The 34-year-old dyke says she always gets her hair cut at a barber shop, not a salon.
Mahrouk told her “it’s against his religion” to cut a woman’s hair, she says. Mahrouk and two other barbers refused, all saying they practise Islam, which forbids them to touch strange women, she says.
For his part, Mahrouk admits that he denied McGregor service. “I can cut my wife’s hair, but not a strange lady. For me this is not discrimination. I explained that I have nothing against woman. This is my religion. She did not accept it.”
[. . .]
“The law is the law, but this is my religion. But I am not discriminating against anyone,” Mahrouk insists. “It is against my religion.”