A dentist has been suspended for four months after being found guilty of professional misconduct after posting Islamophobic comments on a dental website.
Ronald Pate appeared before a General Dental Council committee on May 29 for posting offensive messages on the GDPUK site which included: “Continue with this appeasing woolly approach and soon we will see Sharia Law recognised, a majority of Muslim MP’s and say goodbye to the country.” He also said: “Its time these sewers of towns were cleansed.”
Pate, from Slough, made the comments between 23-25 May shortly after the Manchester Arena terror attack which killed 23 people. He has been a dentist since 1981 and worked at the Langley Dental Clinic and Implant Centre.
The General Dental Council committee found that his comments were religiously offensive.
In his defence Pate said the comments were not made against normal law-abiding Muslims and that it was purely subjective as to whether anyone would be offended by them. He accepted that some people may have interpreted “its time these sewers of towns were cleansed” to refer to ethnic cleansing, but said that given the circumstances it was clear that he was referring to terrorists.
The forum he posted in is password protected and can only be accessed by people within the dental field. However, there are approximately 10,000 members who would have access to the comments made.
The GDC committee said: “Dental professionals occupy a position of privilege and trust in society and must make sure that their conduct at all times justifies both their patients’ and the public’s trust in the profession…
“The Committee considered that the misconduct found had brought the profession into disrepute and breached a fundamental tenet of the profession. The Committee considered that the lack of respect demonstrated through the language used would undermine public confidence in the wider profession and would have a negative subsisting impact on your performance.“
Reacting to the suspension Dr Shazad Amin, CEO of Muslim organisation MEND, commented: “We welcome this decision from the General Dental Council and hope it will send a strong message to all professionals that hate speech directed against minority groups, including Islamophobic abuse, will not be tolerated whether it is expressed in public or ‘private’ spaces.”