European Commission of Human Rights

Ahmad v. United Kingdom

4 E.H.R.R. 126

The applicant, a school teacher employed by a local authority, complained that he was forced to resign from his full-time post because he was refused permission to attend a mosque for the purposes of worship during hours of employment. Held, there had been no interference with the applicant’s freedom of religion.

Right to hold a position in public service. The Convention does not guarantee a right to hold a position in public service, but the dismissal, forced resignation or variation of employment of a State official may raise an issue under specific Convention provisions.

Freedom of religion. Attendance at place of worship during hours of employment (Art. 9 (1)). The rights of worship either alone or in community with others are not mutually exclusive. Provision for worship by the individual alone, at his place of employment does not necessarily satisfy Article 9 (1). The right to exercise freedom of religion may be limited by contractual obligations, including those of employment and, in the present case, by the requirements of the education system as a whole, provided that the employer gives due consideration to the religious position of the employee and does not artibraily disregard his freedom of religion.

Discrimination in the enjoyment of rights and freedoms (Art. 14). The applicant was not individually or as a member of his religious community treated less favourably than other individuals or groups in comparable situations.