OMER Butt, a Manchester dentist, is facing disciplinary action for the second time in two years for insisting that his Muslim patients wear appropriate Islamic gear when being treated – “in order to protect his honour”.
According to this report, at least two patients were left in pain after they declined to follow the rules at his NHS dental clinic in Bury, Lancashire.
Two years ago he was reprimanded by the General Dental Council for telling an Asian mother-of-two he would not register her unless she wore the Muslim hijab.
Butt, 32, allegedly said it was duty to ensure Muslim women wore the hijab at his NHS dental clinic in Bury, Lancashire.
The GDC heard how Butt believed it was his duty to stop Muslim patients committing what he believed was “a religious sin”.
He even put a laminated sign on the wall of his waiting room telling patients they would have to adhere to his strict dress code or find another dentist.
John Snell, for the GDC, said:
He sought to impose a dress code on patients attending his practice. He required that women cover their hair with a head scarf, or hijab, and that male patients remove any gold jewellery.
If he had simply expressed a preference, without imposing any compulsion to adhere to this dress code, there may be no cause for complaint. However, he insisted – and those who did not comply were refused treatment.
He made compliance with Islamic dress code a condition of treatment, which is entirely inappropriate under the auspices of the National Health Service.
Patients should have access to NHS treatment regardless of their religious observance, or otherwise.
One patient,Â referred to only as Mrs F, told how she went with her husband and three children to register as patients at the Unsworth Smile Clinic, in Bury, Lancashire, in 2006.
While they were waiting to be seen, Butt called her husband into an office and told him he would have to tell his wife to wear a head scarf or the family would not be seen.
They promptly left and made a formal complaint to the NHS.
Mrs F told the panel:
I was extremely annoyed. It’s my choice if I wear a Hijab or not. But he told my husband he wouldn’t treat any of us until I did. He even offered to provide one for me to use, but I didn’t want to wear it. I shouldn’t have to wear it to get treatment.
I had great pain in my tooth at the time, but I wasn’t going to stand for that so we left.
Another patient and her family had to leave the clinic in June 2007 because she would not wear the religious headdress after spending a year looking for a dentist in the area, the hearing was told.
The woman’s husband, known as Mr C, was also called into a private room at the surgery where Butt asked him to impose a dress code on his wife.
His wife said:
My husband came out and he looked quite angry and his face was red. He said ‘let’s go’.
Butt, of Prestwich, Manchester,Â denies charges of misconduct for his treatment of two patients at the clinic.
If found guilty he faces being removed the dental register.
In September 2007 Butt was formally reprimanded by the GDC for similar behaviour and found guilty of serious professional misconduct.
After learning of an earlier charge laid against him, Butt – the brother of a former spokesman of the radical Islamic group al-Muhajiroun – wrote to the council praising Allah, according to this report. He referred to the patient as his “sister” and concluded:
May Allah protect us all from the evils of Shaitan [Satan].
The woman, referred to as Patient A, went to see Mr Butt at his clinic in April, 2005. He asked her if she was a Muslim and she asked him why it mattered. He said he needed to know.
The nurse allegedly told her:
Inside the surgery it is Mr Butt’s world and his rules that apply.
Andrew Hockton, defending the dentist at the 2007 hearing, said that Mr Butt asked Muslim women to cover everything except their hands and faces “in order to protect his honour”.
The latest hearing, being held in London, continues.