A Muslim police officer in Britain claims he was forced out of his job after officers poked fun at his beard.
Former PC Javid Iqbal, 38, alleges colleagues made faces when they were asked to go on patrol with him — and called him racist names.
He also insists white officers told him they were superior to police from ethnic backgrounds and forced him to walk home from jobs instead of sending a police car to pick him up.
"My beard is an important part of my religion, my identity and my life," Iqbal said. "There is no other reason for me having a five-inch beard. I am proud of it and it was never a problem in the 18 months I served as a special constable.
“I devoted myself to the force voluntarily before I became a PC. I believed in putting something back into society.
“I’m disgusted I was bullied because of my beliefs. I’ve no doubt institutional racism played a part in this.”
Iqbal, from Stevenage, Herts, claims he was fired by Bedfordshire Police after fellow officers in Luton launched a "smear campaign" making complaints about his performance.
He will put his case to an employment tribunal, claiming religious and racial discrimination plus unfair dismissal. He says in early 2006, shortly after he joined a PC training course, he became a victim of racial abuse.
He claims one colleague allegedly mimicked his accent and pretended to have a beard similar to his.
And he says officers gave "negative statements" to superiors about him, including an allegation he failed to help a colleague arresting a violent man.
He was cleared when CCTV showed he was dealing with other people.
Iqbal had just returned to work after nine months leave on full pay with depression when he was fired for poor performance.
But a police source Monday said senior officers believed the rookie was not up to the job because he was not "assertive enough" and was unable to deal with "conflict situations."