World Hijab Day celebrated on February 1st

world-hijabOn February 1st, millions of women, either Muslim or non-Muslim, prepared their headscarf to don hijab for a day, showing solidarity and respect to Muslim women’s choice to cover.

“I think it is important today to try to understand and experience other cultures and belief system,” Elizabeth Croucher, a non-Muslim Londoner, told OnIslam.net.

Muslim and non-Muslim women wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf will march on the streets of 116 countries to mark the third anniversary of World Hijab Day.

The World Hijab Day, held for the third consecutive year, is the brain child of a New York resident, Nazma Khan, who came up with the idea as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding. Suggesting the event, Khan wanted to encourage non-Muslim women to don the hijab and experience it before judging Muslim women.

Florida girl attacked after wearing hijab to school

February 4, 2014

 

Teen says she has been bullied in school
HAINES CITY, Fla. —A Florida girl said she has been verbally and physically assaulted because she wears a hijab, or head scarf, to school.

Zahrah Habibulla, 14, said she didn’t have problems at school with other children until she started wearing her hijab on Dec. 14. The Polk County teen said she wears the hijab for religious reasons.

“I’ve been bullied in school,” she said. “I had verbal assaults, physical assaults.”

Each time the teen was attacked, she told her mother, who then called the principal of Ridge Community High School.

Zahrah’s parents told WESH 2 News in an exclusive interview that they want something done before their daughter is hurt.

“It breaks my heart. I don’t want to see that,” said Zameena Habibulla. “I’m hoping for a safer school for her. Every day she goes to school I’ve got fear.”

The Polk County School District released the following statement Monday:
“Since learning of these concerns, school officials have taken a proactive role in addressing any issues to ensure the safety and welfare of the student. The School Board remains committed to providing an educational environment that is safe, secure and free from harassment or bullying.”

A member of the American Muslim Youth Leadership Council has also met with the school’s principal to urge action from school officials.

WESH(NBC):  http://www.wesh.com/news/central-florida/florida-girl-attacked-after-wearing-hijab-to-school/-/11788162/24271022/-/x92r5g/-/index.html#ixzz2tXijNW1r

10 Years for Plot to Murder Cartoonist

January 6, 2014

By Jon Hurdle

 

PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge on Monday sentenced a Pennsylvania woman to 10 years in prison for her part in a plan to murder a Swedish cartoonist whose images of the Prophet Muhammad offended Muslims.

The woman, Colleen R. LaRose, who used “Jihad Jane” as an online alias, pleaded guilty to four charges, including conspiring to aid terrorists and to kill a person in a foreign country, after she plotted with jihadists she encountered on the Internet to kill the cartoonist, Lars Vilks, who depicted the prophet atop the body of a dog.

Ms. LaRose, 50, of Pennsburg, Pa., near Philadelphia, went to Europe in 2008 with the intention of killing Mr. Vilks, but failed to meet up with the people who had encouraged the mission. She returned to the United States and was arrested after the plan was discovered.

Judge Petrese B. Tucker of United States District Court said Monday that she was satisfied that Ms. LaRose would have carried out the killing if she had made the right contacts.

The defendant, a slight woman of 4-foot-9 who wore green prison overalls and a black head scarf, made a six-minute statement to the court, admitting that she had been inspired to engage in jihad, or Islamic holy war, after seeing coverage of Palestinians “screaming and crying.”

 

NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/07/us/jihad-jane-given-10-year-prison-sentence.html

 

Philly security firm sued over Muslim head scarf

The EEOC is suing ABM Security Services, which provides guards for the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, for religious discrimination after an employee claimed she was forced to choose between keeping her job and wearing her traditional Muslim head covering.
ABM hired Tahira, a devout Muslim, and she reported for training wearing a khimar, a head covering worn by some Muslim women. Her trainer told her to take off the scarf, but she refused, explaining that her religion required it. An ABM representative told her that she could not work at the convention center while wearing the khimar and sent her home.
Tahira filed an EEOC complaint, noting that ABM never discussed accommodations that would allow her to perform the job and observe her religious beliefs. EEOC mediation attempts failed, and now, barring a settlement, the lawsuit will go to trial.

CAIR: Okla. Muslim Told She Needs Bank Escort Because of Hijab

Muslim civil rights group asks Tulsa bank to review discriminatory ‘no hats’ policy

The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is calling on Tulsa’s Valley National Bank to review its “inappropriate and discriminatory” policy that treats customers wearing religious head coverings differently than other patrons.

CAIR-OK said a Muslim customer at a Valley National Bank branch in Tulsa reported that she was singled out by bank officials because of her religiously-mandated head scarf, or hijab.

The Muslim customer was allegedly told she would not be able to enter the bank unless accompanied by a bank employee to and from the teller because of a “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” policy.

Valley National Bank has confirmed in a letter to CAIR-OK that it is their policy to single out women who wear a head scarf, whether for religious reasons or otherwise.

“Singling out Muslim women or other people of faith who wear religiously-mandated head coverings that do not hinder identification is inappropriate and discriminatory,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “All customers should be treated equally regardless of their faith or religious practices.”

Soltani said the bank’s policy on head coverings would also impact Sikh and Jewish men who wear turbans and yarmulkes, and would logically be applied to Orthodox Jewish women who often wear wigs for religious reasons or Catholic nuns who wear habits.

Muslims From Abroad Are Thriving in Catholic Colleges

DAYTON, Ohio — The flow of students from the Muslim world into American colleges and universities has grown sharply in recent years, and women, though still far outnumbered by men, account for a rising share.

 

No definitive figures are available, but interviews with students and administrators at several Catholic institutions indicate an even faster rate of growth there, with the Muslim student population generally doubling over the past decade, and the number of Muslim women tripling or more.

 

Arriving from Kuwait to attend college here, Mai Alhamad wondered how Americans would receive a Muslim, especially one whose head scarf broadcasts her religious identity.

At any of the countless secular universities she might have chosen, religion — at least in theory — would be beside the point. But she picked one that would seem to underline her status as a member of a religious minority. She enrolled at the University of Dayton, a Roman Catholic school, and she says it suits her well.

 

“Here, people are more religious, even if they’re not Muslim, and I am comfortable with that,” said Ms. Alhamad, an undergraduate in civil engineering, as several other Muslim women gathered in the student center nodded in agreement. “I’m more comfortable talking to a Christian than an atheist.”

 

At those schools, Muslim students, from the United States or abroad, say they prefer a place where talk of religious beliefs and adherence to a religious code are accepted and even encouraged, socially and academically. Correctly or not, many of them say they believe that they are more accepted than they would be at secular schools.

Former Disney worker expected to sue over head scarf dispute

The ACLU is representing a Muslim woman who says she was harassed and told she could not wear her head scarf as a hostess at a Disney hotel cafe in Anaheim.

A former Disney employee is expected to announce Monday a federal lawsuit against the entertainment giant, saying she was harassed and unfairly removed from her hostess job after refusing to remove her head scarf while at work.

Imane Boudlal, who is Muslim, said she had worked at Storyteller’s Cafe in Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa in Anaheim for two years when she began wearing her hijab to work in August 2010. Boudlal said she was told wearing her scarf was a violation of company policy, and she would either have to remove it, cover it with a hat or take a job working out of public sight.

Boudlal, now 28, refused. She has not worked at Disney since Aug. 21, 2010, said Mark Rosenbaum, an attorney from the ACLU of Southern California who is representing Boudlal.

Buffalo: 2 Women Sentenced for Hate Crime Attack on Muslim Woman

LOCKPORT — Two women from Niagara Falls were sentenced to weekend jail terms Friday for their hate crime assault on a Pakistani woman last summer.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas ordered Sheree A. Sabater, 39, to four months of weekends in the County Jail and three years’ probation. Antoinette S. Ivey, 32, drew two months of weekends in jail and five years’ probation.

The 26-year-old Muslim victim, who was walking with her two children July 14 near the Tops Market on Portage Road in Niagara Falls, was wearing a head scarf at the time, police said.

“This woman and her two children were just minding their own business,” Farkas said. “These two drunk, high, out-of-control women, and I use that term loosely, pummeled her to the ground in front of her children.”

The victim said in a later Buffalo News interview that she heard one of the attackers say, “She’s Pakistani and I want to kill her.”

The nationality was just a lucky guess, Assistant District Attorney Cheryl L. Nichols said.

“I didn’t know who she was,” Ivey said in court.

Sabater said, “I feel foolish.”

Muslim woman wins $5 million in punitive damages from AT&T in workplace discrimination suit

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former Kansas City woman who converted to Islam in 2005 said she was harassed for years at AT&T, and that the abuse boiled over in 2008 when her boss snatched her head scarf and exposed her hair.

A Jackson County jury on Thursday awarded Susann Bashir $5 million in punitive damages in her discrimination lawsuit, along with $120,000 in lost wages and other actual damages.

The Kansas City Star (http://bit.ly/JKWbqR ) reported Saturday the award appears to be the largest jury verdict for a workplace discrimination case in Missouri history.

Bashir said in court documents that her work environment became hostile immediately after she converted, with her co-workers making harassing comments about her religion and referring to her hijab as “that thing on her head.”

“I was shocked. I thought, ‘What is going on?’” she told the newspaper. “Nobody ever cared what I wore before. Nobody ever cared what religion I was before.”

Bashir worked at AT&T’s office in Kansas City for 10 years as a fiber optics network builder before being fired from her $70,000-a-year job. She claimed she endured religious discrimination nearly every day of the final three years she worked there, including being asked if she was going to blow up the building and being called a “towelhead” and a terrorist.

AT&T said Friday it disagrees with the verdict and plans to appeal.

JROTC’s head scarf rule keeps Tenn. girl from parade

BRENTWOOD, Tenn. – A high school freshman said her Muslim beliefs were put to the test when commanding officers in her school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program told her she couldn’t both wear a head scarf and march in the homecoming parade.

Demin Zawity, 14, has since quit the JROTC at Ravenwood High School and returned to regular physical education classes, but the Council on American-Islamic Relations sent a letter of complaint to Williamson County Schools Director Mike Looney.

Zawity had been wearing it all along, but September homecoming marked the first time she was going to wear her JROTC uniform as well.

Zawity’s mom, Perishan Hussein, said she contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations to complain about her daughter’s treatment.

“There are some Muslims who say she shouldn’t be involved in this and there will be Americans who say she needs to assimilate,” Hussein said. “We have to ask ourselves: Do we want to be a melting pot full of vibrant cultures? Or, do we want everyone to assimilate to one culture, one rationale, one way of being? She’s an American. I’m an American. She has a right to stand up for her rights.”

Zawity said she’s lost her interest in returning to the JROTC even if the rules are changed, but she wanted to make things better for future Muslim girls who wish to join.