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    Lawyer taken to task by Zuhal Demir let go by UNIA

    © Belga
    UNIA has parted company with Rachida Lamrabet by virtue of her contentious and ambiguous stance on the burqa.
    © Belga

    UNIA, the inter-federal centre for equal opportunities, has decided to end its contract of employment with the lawyer, Rachida Lamrabet. The body announced this in a communiqué on Sunday evening.
    It said this was on the grounds that she had attracted attention in the Flemish media for her remarks on burqa prohibition.

    In an interview, which appeared in the weekly publication Knack, during March, the lawyer working for UNIA had indicated neither being “in favour of the burqua,” nor being in favour of a prohibition of this full-face veil. She felt this was vital “particularly in a country which attaches a lot of importance to human rights.”

    Her remarks were made known by the new Secretary of State for Equal Opportunities, Zuhal Demir (New Flemish Alliance), who desired that UNIA overtly distance itself from the comments made by its employee.

    The inter-federal centre for equal opportunities had initially retorted that Rachida Lamrabet had given a personal rather than a professional view. Zuhal Demir had not considered this a sufficient response in the circumstances.

    UNIA stated on Sunday that, “The interview published in Knack led to a discussion” with the Executive Board. “On this occasion, other evidence has appeared, which has brought about this breakdown of trust between Lamrabet and UNIA…Both parties have agreed to say nothing further on the subject.”

    UNIA further stressed that the literary work of its employee, who is also an author, played no role in the decision to part company. The organisation indicated, “Although this aspect was not always easy, up until now there had always been a balance between Rachida Lamrabet’s literary work and her role as a UNIA project manager.”

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times