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Monday, October 03, 2005
  Doing it to ourselves; the West's death by cultural suicide
Express & Star News for the West Midlands & Staffordshire: "Novelty pig calendars and toys have been banned by bosses at Dudley Council in case Muslim staff are offended.

Workers in the council's benefits department have been told to remove or cover up all pig products including toys, porcelain, calendars and even a tissue box featuring Winnie the Pooh and Piglet.

It comes after a Muslim worker said they were offended by pig-shaped stress relievers delivered to the authority.

Muslims are forbidden from eating pork in the Koran and staff were asked to remove the items.

The partner of one of the members of staff in the Ednam Road department, who did not want to be named, said: 'It's caused a bit of an atmosphere in the office. The staff did comply but it's just crazy - things like ornaments that have been on desks for years have had to be removed.'

Head of finance at the council Mike Williams, who is responsible for the department, said the member of staff said they were offended by the products in the run up to the Islamic festival of Ramadan.

He said a decision will be taken after the festival ends about whether the items are allowed back.

Asked what reason the member of staff gave in making the request for their removal, he said it 'did not matter why it was considered offensive'.

He acknowledged that some members of the department had seen it as 'political correctness gone barmy'.

Councillor Mahbubur Rahman, a practicing Muslim, said he agreed with the action taken.

'If it is a request made by an individual and other officers can reason a comprimise it is a good thing, it is a tolerance and acceptance of their beliefs and understanding,' he said.

'But if it were a blanket ban I don't know how it would benefit the whole issue of working together.'"
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