Christian Who Compared Muslim to Darth Vader Takes Employers to Court for Discrimination

A Christian who was expelled from the Scouts for describing a Muslim niqab as a "Darth Vader tent" has claimed he later faced religious discrimination at work.

Brian Walker, 66, a former electrician at Southmead Hospital in Bristol, England, has filed a lawsuit against the North Bristol NHS Trust, after claiming he was victimized because of his Christian beliefs.

Walker alleged that colleagues at the hospital made a number of "exaggerated and tenuous complaints" after reports about his niqab comments emerged.

In 2018, Walker received a settlement from the Scout Association, the largest organization to represent the Scouts movement in the U.K, after he was expelled for comparing a Muslim woman's religious veil to the helmet worn by the Star Wars villain.

In a letter to the Scout's official magazine, Walker complained that the movement was "moving away" from its Christian roots and Muslim scout leaders wearing the face veil would "most likely drown wearing that Darth Vader tent."

Walker wrote the complaint letter after the magazine ran an article about a scout leader who was also a Muslim. Walker also said the woman's "outward appearance is enough to frighten children and animals," reported The Bristol Post.

Walker is now claiming the NHS Trust unfairly investigated him after a number of colleagues complained about him for discussing how same-sex marriage goes against his religious beliefs.

He also alleged that his colleagues felt "harassed" and "intimidated" after he dropped off a newspaper to show them that he had reached a settlement with the Scouts, along with cakes, a small amount of money for a colleague and an inspirational note, reported Christian Today.

A disciplinary panel later ruled that his behavior had been "discriminatory" and he was given a final warning.

Walker decided to resign, feeling that his position had become untenable. He launched legal action against North Bristol NHS Trust alleging discrimination, victimization, and harassment.

His lawyers have suggested that North Bristol NHS Trust will argue that Walker's Christian beliefs were "incompatible with human dignity" and "not worthy of respect in democratic society," and therefore not protected under equality laws, reported The Times.

In a statement to Newsweek regarding the lawsuit, a North Bristol NHS Trust spokesperson said: "Whilst it would be inappropriate to comment on this case while it is ongoing, we have a zero-tolerance policy to all abuse and racism and our policies are there to protect our staff, patients and visitors."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of the Christian Legal Centre, accused NHS bosses of initiating a "sinister campaign" against Walker.

"Brian's story shows the dangers people face when daring to question or even joke about inclusion and multiculturalism," she said. "Christian social values advocate for the freedom of the individual to live and speak out their beliefs in a free society and to seek to persuade others of their beliefs in a democratic society."

Walker previously defended his comments about the niqab as being "tongue-in-cheek."

He told The Bristol Post in 2018: "Communication is paramount when you are a scout leader, but if they can't see your face, how do they know who you are? People are so fearful of speaking out. I've got two special needs kids with Asperger Syndrome and cerebral palsy, so I know all about exclusion."

A Muslim woman wearing a Niqab poses inside an Asian fashion shop in the British northern town of Blackburn, on October 6, 2006, Blackburn, England. A Christian who was expelled from the Scouts for describing a Muslim colleague's niqab as a "Darth Vader tent" has filed a religious discrimination lawsuit against his former employees. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images