9/11 and 7/7 conspiracy theories are not a philosophical belief
18 July 2011
An employee has failed to convince a Tribunal that his belief that the US and UK Governments were behind the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and 7/7 amount to a "philosophical belief", worthy of protection under discrimination law - Farrell v South Yorkshire Policy Authority (2011). This case follows other recent high-profile cases involving beliefs about climate change and fox hunting.
Mr Farrell was employed as a principal intelligence analyst for South Yorkshire Police. He was dismissed from his role, when he produced his annual risk assessment report, highlighting in stark terms his views that 9/11 and 7/7 were perpetrated by the UK and US Governments. He was dismissed on the grounds that his views were incompatible with his role. Mr Farrell brought claims of religion or belief discrimination.
However, despite Mr Farrell`s beliefs being strong and genuine, this alone was not enough for the Tribunal. Beliefs must also be cogent and coherent. In the Tribunal`s opinion, Mr Farrell`s beliefs were neither, as his evidence revealed numerous inconsistencies and contradictions in those beliefs.
The Tribunal recognised the difficulty in deciding whether a belief meets a threshold worthy of protection. Therefore, in the absence of a set level of cogency or coherence for a belief to meet this requirement, the issue will have to be decided on a case by case basis.
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