Dentist cut fees for women in Islamic dress

 Manchester Evening News 

A MUSLIM dentist has admitted reducing his fees to encourage female patients to wear the Islamic headscarf.

Dr Omer Butt, from Prestwich, told a disciplinary hearing he would ask Muslim women to cover up in observance of Islamic law before he treated them.

But he denied refusing to treat a nurse because she would not follow his rules.

The nurse, known as Patient A, told the hearing she was left `humiliated and upset' when she went to Dr Butt's Unsworth Smile clinic in Bury, in April 2005.

The nurse, a non-practising Muslim, claimed Dr Butt said she would have to find another dentist because she wouldn't wear a headscarf.

Dr Butt told the General Dental Council professional conduct committee the Islamic ethos of his surgery was a `marketing tool'.

He said: "If they are prepared to wear the headscarf, I am willing to reduce the fee or completely waive the fee."

He said he identified the woman as a Muslim because of her name, which has roots in Islam, then `politely' asked her to wear a headscarf.

He said: "I did request her to wear the headscarf. I said `It would help me if you would wear a headscarf'.

"Her response was she looked at me with a smile and said `Oh, that's strange'."

He said it was `unlawful' for him, as a Muslim, to look at a Muslim woman who was not properly covered up. He added: "If she was to adhere to my request, it makes me feel more comfortable.

"It was a polite request. It was a simple request. It was never more than a request."

He said that, despite her lapsed faith, Patient A was still a Muslim. He said: "For me to now call her a non-Muslim, I would be accused of committing a sin. I can't say she is not a Muslim.

"The only difference is one is lower in faith. It's like saying a Porsche and a Mini Metro, they are both cars."

Under cross-examination from John Snell, for the GDC, Dr Butt was asked if his clinic had a policy that women must wear a headscarf. Mr Snell said: "The truth is it is and it was a policy that you insist your patients wear the headscarf."

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