More than 83,000 people have signed a petition backing a British doctor who could lose his job for asking a Muslim woman to remove her veil.
Dr. Keith Wolverson, 52, insists he only asked the woman to remove her niqab, a veil covering all but the eyes, so he could hear her while trying to diagnose her daughter at Royal Stoke University Hospital last June.
“I asked a lady to remove her face veil for adequate communication, in the same way I’d ask a motorcyclist to remove a crash helmet,” insisted Wolverson, a primary doctor for 23 years, according to the Independent.
“I’m not racist. This has nothing to do with race, religion or skin color,” he previously told the Daily Mail.
But the unidentified woman complained, and now Wolverson says he is “fearful of the consequences” of a formal probe by the UK’s General Medical Council (GMC) as well as a racial discrimination inquiry.
“I’m a little bit sad the country has been committed to depths such as this,” he complained, having been suspended during the investigation, according to the report.
News of the probe sparked a change.org petition, “Stop Dr Wolverson getting fired,” which as of Sunday morning had more than 83,000 signatures.
“I have been absolutely bowled over by the support,” Wolverson said. “I am going to fight it until the bitter end.”
The petition seeks to “save this man’s reputation.”
“I believe he acted in the best interest of the child involved and there was no racist or religious discrimination in his actions,” the creator states.
“We need to ensure the General Medical Council treat this man fairly and look at all the evidence.”
The Doctors Association called on the GMC to issue “clear guidelines to protect both doctors and our patients,” according to the Independent.
“It is of utmost importance that the religious wishes of our patients are respected,” a spokesperson added.