OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. National clothing retail giant Abercrombie & Fitch, doing business as Abercrombie Kids, allegedly discriminated against a 17-year-old Muslim by refusing to hire her because she wore a hijab, or head scarf, in observance of her sincerely held religious beliefs, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in discrimination lawsuit filed today in federal court.
According to the EEOC’s suit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma, Civil Action No. 09-CV-602-GKF-FHM, Abercrombie Kids interviewed Samantha Elauf for a position at its store located in Woodland Hills Mall in Tulsa, Okla.
The EEOC alleges that Abercrombie refused to hire Elauf because she was wearing a head covering when she was interviewed and this violated the company’s “Look Policy,” which prohibited the wearing of head coverings. Elauf had applied for a sales position with Abercrombie Kids.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, protects workers from discrimination based upon religion in hiring and in the terms and conditions of their employment. The EEOC filed suit after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement…
OKLAHOMA MUSLIM DENIED JOB BECAUSE OF ISLAMIC SCARF - TOP Abercrombie Kids manager allegedly said scarf ‘does not fit’ company image
(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 7/31/2008) - The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) announced today that it has filed an EEOC complaint on behalf of a Muslim woman who was allegedly denied employment at an Abercrombie Kids store in that state because of the applicant’s religiously-mandated headscarf, or hijab.
The woman told CAIR-OK that a district manager claimed he could not hire her because her Islamic headscarf “does not fit the Abercrombie image.”
“Employers have a clear legal duty to accommodate the religious practices of their workers,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi. “To deny someone employment because of apparent religious bias goes against long-standing American traditions of tolerance and inclusion.”
Hashmi noted that Abercrombie & Fitch’s corporate “Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” states: “The Company will adhere to its employment policies of non-discrimination as it relates to race, color, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or handicap and will ensure compliance with all legal and other regulations governing employment.”
In a letter to Abercrombie & Fitch CEO Michael Jefferies, CAIR-OK asked the company to 1) offer the Muslim applicant a formal apology, 2) clarify the company’s policy on religious accommodation, and 3) institute workplace sensitivity and diversity training.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. The act also requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless doing so would create an “undue hardship” for the employer.
The EEOC, or U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, recently issued new guidelines on accommodating religious beliefs and practices in the workplace. EEOC officials say the number of religious discrimination complaints has more than doubled in the last 15 years. The new guidelines offer protection for workers who wear religious attire such as the hijab.
SEE: New Religious Discrimination Manual Released http://www.usatoday.com/news/religion/2008-07-30-work-discrimination_N.htm
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties group and has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, protect civil liberties, and empower American Muslims.
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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Razi Hashmi, 405-415-6851 or 405-248-5853, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: email@example.com
ISLAMABAD: Rose, a 32-year-old American woman in Islamabad, is seeking justice for her Pakistani husband, Hasan, who claims that he was detained and tortured by officials of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before being deported in 2006.
The couple, who have asked that their last names be withheld for security reasons, is currently appealing to the US embassy in Islamabad to review their case so that the family can be repatriated to the US, where Hasan was a legal resident since 2003. They have not filed a lawsuit against Hasan’s detention in the US civilian courts as they cannot afford legal counsel. However, a motion on Hasan’s behalf has been filed in the International Criminal Court by a Florida-based human rights’ campaigner.
Although Hasan has been back in Pakistan since 2006 Rose and the couple’s two children followed in 2008 the couple chose not to pursue Hasan’s case earlier because they saw no hope for justice under the former Bush administration. They are now pinning everything on President Barack Obama’s government.
‘I got a phone call from the US embassy today,’ says Rose, eyes shining with excitement in her two-room rented basement house in the capital city. The embassy has acknowledged the case for the first time since Rose’s arrival in Pakistan in January 2008.
‘Before, [the embassy officials] simply told me to leave my husband, just divorce him,’ says Rose. ‘They encouraged me to return to the US with my children and to forget about Hasan.’ She adds that the officials told Rose, a US citizen, that three other US citizens would have to vouch for her on her arrival in the US.
Rose and Hasan’s attempts to return to the US have necessitated a revisiting of Hasan’s detention. Breaking down frequently while recalling the experience, Hasan says that on January 7, 2006, two men from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a subdivision of the DHS, arrested him and took him to Fayetteville, Arkansas. ‘I was told that I was a criminal, a fugitive and a terrorist. I kept telling them that I had done nothing wrong, but they wouldn’t listen,’ he remembers.
‘I was put in a cell and told to strip. While I was undressing, the taser came out. The agent kept zapping me until I passed out. When I woke up, I was lying on the floor naked and wet. He then started hitting and zapping me.’
Pulling his shirt up, Hasan reveals torture marks that remain visible after four years. His front teeth are missing due to heavy beating and he informs that his left hand remains numb. ‘They kept asking me, what do you know about the 9/11 attackers? Who do you know in Al Qaeda? How much money did you send to the terrorists? What are your plans for bombing the nuclear plants in the US?’
Hasan also recalls being chastised for marrying a white woman and being told by a federal agent that he would ‘make a career’ on Hasan’s case. ‘I kept pleading with them that you’ve got the wrong guy, but they never stopped,’ he adds.
According to Hasan, he was moved between several detention centres in the US, including one in Memphis, Tennessee, and another in Texas. ‘I couldn’t bear the torture. I wanted to be deported and started writing letters to the ICE asking for it. Then a month later, an ICE deportation officer appeared and said I could be sent to Pakistan only after I sign three pieces of blank paper. Otherwise, I was threatened that I would languish in cells forever and be sent to [the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay].’ It was at this point that Hasan opted for deportation and was flown out to Pakistan. (More)
MUSLIM ADVOCATES FILES SUIT, SEEKS FBI GUIDELINES ON MOSQUE SURVEILLANCE -TOP
September 16, 2009--While Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Muslim Advocates--a national legal advocacy and educational organization--filed suit in federal court in Washington, DC demanding access to surveillance guidelines issued by the FBI to its agents. In the wake of concerns over federal agents infiltrating mosques and the so-called "mapping" of communities where American Muslim reside, the suit against the Department of Justice asserts that the FBI has no legal basis to withhold the Domestic Investigative Operational Guidelines, which became effective in December 2008. (More)
Video: Muslim Community Liaison for NYPD ABC News, 9/13/09
CAIR JOINS IN CALL FOR DHS AUDIT OF POST-9/11 REGISTRATIONS - TOP
Richard L. Skinner Inspector General U.S. Department of Homeland Security 1120 Vermont Avenue, NW Washington, D.C. 20528
Dear IG Skinner:
We write to follow up on a written request dated November 29, 2005,1 and a meeting held on May 7, 2009, between your office and the DHS CRCL Committee during which the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS) was discussed. We also write to request an audit on NSEERS.
As you know, the NSEERS program was implemented as a counterterrorism tool in the wake of September 11, 2001, and required certain non-immigrants to register at ports of entry and local immigration offices and complete fingerprints, photographs and lengthy questioning. “The most controversial aspect of the NSEERS program was a “domestic” component that solicited registrations from more than 80,000 males who were inside the United States on temporary visas from Muslim-majority countries.”…
“Indeed, more than seven years after its implementation, NSEERS continues to impact the Arab-American, [South Asian American, and Muslim-American] communit[ies]. Impacted individuals include those who are married to United States citizens or meaningfully employed in the United States. Well-intentioned individuals who failed to comply with NSEERS due to a lack of knowledge or fear have been denied “adjustment of status” (green cards), and in some cases have been placed in removal proceedings under the premise that they “willfully” failed to register. This scenario has torn apart families because of the real implications of having a parent or spouse without a legal status.” (More)
CAIR HONORS THE LEGACY OF JUDGE ROBERT M. TAKASUGI - TOP
(LOS ANGELES, CA, 9/17/09) - The Greater Los Angeles Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations recently issued a statement on the passing of Judge Robert M. Takasugi, who was appointed in 1976 to the Central District of California and was the first Japanese American to become a federal judge.
Prior to becoming a District Court judge, he served as a judge in the municipal and superior courts in Los Angeles. He passed away on August 4, 2009.
Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Greater Los Angeles Area (CAIR-LA) said:
"Judge Takasugi was a great force in challenging the undemocratic policies of our time, and was a courageous hero and leader of the civil rights movement. His death is a great loss to our country, especially to those who struggle for equal civil rights for all Americans."
Judge Takasugi made difficult decisions from the bench that ensured protection of civil liberties and constitutional freedoms. He drew on his own experiences of being a Japanese American and being rounded up and detained in an internment camp during WWII.
Judge Takasugi was one of the first judges to issue an opinion overhauling a portion of the Patriot Act in 2002. He said the law classifying terrorist groups deprived the defendants of due process rights because they were not given a chance to rebut the terrorist allegations before their group was placed on the list.
His most enduring legacy has been the mentorship and support of countless law students and young lawyers, including through pro-bono bar preparation and through the creation of the Robert Takasugi Public Interest Fellowship.
The fellowship has worked to carry on Judge Takasugi's influence, independence, courage, and vision of equal justice.
You can donate to and apply for the fellowship here.
CONTACT: Affad Shaikh, CAIR-LA Civil Rights Manager, 714-776-1847, firstname.lastname@example.org