Norwegian hairdresser fined for discriminating against Muslim woman

A Norwegian court on Monday fined a female hairdresser for discriminating against a Muslim woman who wore a headscarf.

Merete Hodne was ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 kroner (1,200 dollars) and other costs of 5,000 kroner, a district court in the south-western Norwegian city of Sandnes said.

Malika Bayan, who wears a hijab, had complained she was subjected to discrimination in October 2015 at Hodne's salon. When she asked what a hair colouring would cost, Hodne ordered her to leave and said she wouldn't touch anyone like her, according to Bayan's testimony.

The case went to trial after Hodne refused to pay an initial fine. During the proceedings, Hodne said the case "was political, not religious" and that she had become anxious when the hijab-wearing woman entered her salon.

"For me, the hijab is a totalitarian symbol. An extremist symbol," Hodne said.

Hodne's attorney Linda Ellefsen Eide said the ruling was "expected," adding that the court had been influenced by the fact that Hodne was previously active in an anti-Islam group, Eide told public broadcaster NRK.

Eide plans to study the verdict before considering whether to appeal.

Bayan welcomed the decision, saying "the court had ruled that it was not OK to discriminate."

Last update: Mon, 12/09/2016 - 12:47

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