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Adopting a position

Mark Sandell Mark Sandell | 13:34 UK time, Thursday, 5 October 2006

When you're at work, should you leave your politics, your morals and your religion at the door? A big talking point here in Britain is the story of a Muslim police officer who was excused guard duty at the Israeli embassy. The officer - who has a Lebanese wife - is quoted as having felt "uncomfortable and unsafe" and asked to be posted elsewhere.
Some here say if he joins the police he should be prepared to do anything he's asked to, others say it wasn't unreasonable, there were plenty of other police officers who could do the job, and they knew he was a Muslim when he was taken on.

There was another story here a few weeks ago when some Glasgow firefighters were disciplined for refusing to hand out safety leaflets at a Gay Pride march.
What do you think? In a more politicised world, is it unreasonable to expect people not to have views and feelings that influence the way they do their job? . Here at the BBC, it's an issue we're always wrangling over ; we're impartial , we don't take positions, we don't (on-air anyway) have "views". But of course we do - it's just that they mustn't influence any decisions we take. But is that realistic?
If you widen the argument still further, what about a doctor who has to treat, say , a gunman who's killed people and then turned the gun on himself but could still be saved? What about the solicitor or barrister who has to defend someone they know to be a rapist ?
Can you leave your personal beliefs and prejudices at home when you come to work?

It's likely to be a discussion that fills much of the programme, but we're going to make sure that we have time to speak to some of you in Malawi. Madonna is there as she visits as ophanage she has funded. And while her spokespeople deny it, the Malawian Ministry for Gender and Child Welfare is more than hinted that Madonna is considering adopting a Malawian child. Id you are in Malawi, would that be a move you'd welcome? Is her involvement in your country bringing much needed publicity and money, or simply helping a few with no obvious benefit for the country as a whole?


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