A Syrian Christian claims that he lost his job at a warehouse in Sweden after he was asked by company management to take off a cross necklace and refused.
Syrian George Tannouri said he worked at the warehouse run by the technology company Ingram Micro, located just north of Stockholm, for three months before he was asked to remove the necklace, which he wore under his shirt.
Tannouri said he refused to take off the religious necklace and was told that his probationary period for the position had been terminated and he was ordered to leave, Nyheter Idag reports.
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“Our people [Syrians] have been through so much in history, so we come to Sweden and what do we get right here?” Tannouri said.
He added: “I’m tired of how Christians are treated in Sweden. It’s more acceptable to pick on our religion than on others.”
According to Ingram Micro, the Syrian was told to remove the necklace due to safety reasons, rather than religious ones. But Tannouri maintained that the decision was religious and questioned why some employees were allowed to wear hijabs at work.
Lisa Valinder Olsson, communications manager at Ingram Micro, defended the wearing of the hijab, saying: “It is considered an item of clothing and is not considered to pose a risk as long as nothing hangs loose.”
Syrian Christians have been subjected to attacks in the past few years, with a Syrian Orthodox church in the city of Norrköping seeing several suspicious fires within the span of just a few weeks in January 2020.
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Isa Gergin, spokesman and caretaker for the Syrian Orthodox Church, said at the time: “Someone had poured gasoline on the outside and lit it. But the emergency services were quickly in place.”
He added that the building had been targetted in a suspected arson attack in 2018, as well.
George Tannouri’s claims also come just months after a student at a Swedish school claimed he had been told to take off his cross necklace for a class photograph, while other students were permitted to wear hijabs.