Woman Says Abercrombie & Fitch Co. fired her over headscarf

In San Francisco, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a complaint on behalf of Hani Khan, a former employee of Abercrombie & Fitch Co. Ms. Khan says a district manager has told her that headscarf is not allowed in work and that she has been fired for not taking her scarf off. CAIR filed its Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint last week. Abercombie has another pending lawsuit regarding its alleged refusal of hiring a Muslim women wearing headscarf in Tulsa.

US appeals court dismisses Canadian Maher Arar’s lawsuit

Maher Arar cannot sue the United States after being mistaken for a terrorist when he was changing planes in New York a year after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court ruled Monday. The judges of the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals voted 7-4 to uphold a decision by a lower court judge dismissing a lawsuit brought by Maher Arar, a Syrian-born man who was detained as he tried to switch planes in 2002.

Arar sued the US government and top Justice Department officials, saying the United States purposely sent him to Syria to be tortured days after he was picked up at John F. Kennedy International Airport on a false tip from Canada that he had ties to Islamic extremists. The lawsuit said Arar was allowed to see a lawyer only once despite his repeated efforts to receive representation. Syria has denied he was tortured. The Canadian government agreed to pay him almost $10 million after acknowledging it had passed bad information to U.S. authorities.

Wal-Mart Sued for Pushing Out IT Consultant who Prayed in Men’s Room

All Mohammed Zakaria Memon wanted to do was pray five times a day while working as an IT consultant for Wal-Mart in their Arkansas-based corporate offices. But this rite of Islam was allegedly unacceptable to Wal-Mart, according to a lawsuit filed by Memon, who lost his job and is now seeking damages from both the retail chain and his former employer, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

According to Memon’s complaint, the 59-year-old Pakistani-American citizen was first told he could only pray in the hallways or outside in the parking lot. So, in order to not lose too much time from his work, he began performing the washing ritual (known in Urdu as Wazu) required before every prayer, inside Wal-Mart’s men’s room.

But some employees complained about the washing, leading Deloitte to tell Memon he couldn’t do it. After he explained the importance of the Wazu, his employer instructed him to only pray at his hotel, which was
too far away to be a practical solution. After that, Memon was told Wal-Mart was restructuring the project and that he and several other Deloitte consultants would no longer work at the retail headquarters. But, according to his lawsuit, only Memon was taken off the job.

In *Minnesota, meanwhile, the local chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations *announced in July that Wal-Mart would rehire Zahra Aljabri, who had been fired for praying during breaks at work.

Michigan Muslim to File Suit Over Judge’s Hijab Ban

(SOUTHFIELD, MI, 8/25/09) – On August 26, the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) will hold a news conference in Southfield to announce the filing of a federal lawsuit against a Wayne County judge who demanded that a Muslim woman remove her religious headscarf (hijab) in court. The Muslim plaintiff felt so intimidated by the judge’s repeated demand that she eventually removed her headscarf.

CAIR-MI is a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit being filed on behalf of the Michigan woman, who is a member of CAIR.

“The judge’s actions contradict both the constitutional right to freedom of religion and President Obama’s recent statement in support of the right to wear hijab,” said CAIR-MI Attorney Melanie Elturk. “This judge targeted a Muslim woman’s religious attire, but he could just as easily have demanded the removal of a Sikh turban, Jewish yarmulke or a Catholic nun’s habit.”

In President Obama’s June address to Muslims worldwide, he stated: “[F]reedom in America is indivisible from the freedom to practice one’s religion…That is why the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it.”

The judge’s demand came one month after the Michigan Supreme Court voted to give judges full discretion over courtroom attire. At that time, CAIR called for clarification of the new administrative rule and said that, if broadly interpreted, it might allow judges to demand that witnesses remove religious head coverings during testimony.

Video available here.

CAIR-Chicago Wins Bias Suit for Arab-American Officer

Jury awards correctional officer $200K for racial harassment at the workplace

(CHICAGO, IL, 7/24/09) – The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today announced a verdict in favor of an Arab-American correctional officer in a discrimination case litigated pro bono against the Cook County Sheriff’s Department by CAIR-Chicago Staff Attorney Kevin Vodak.

The verdict awarded Officer Abraham Yasin $200,000 in damages for harassment found to be pervasive or severe enough to create a hostile and abusive work environment.

ADC Letter to German Ambassador Urges Investigation into anti-Muslim Hate Crime

Today, in a letter to German Ambassador Klaus Scharioth, the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) expressed its somber concern over
the heinous murder of an Egyptian woman in a courtroom in Dresden, Germany.

According to reports, Marwa Al-Sherbini was stabbed to death 18 times in a German courtroom while her husband, who tried to intervene, was also stabbed by the attacker and shot in the leg by a security officer who mistook him to be the attacker. Al-Sherbini was three months pregnant and was murdered in-front of her three-year old son.

Ms. Al-Sherbini was involved in a lawsuit against the alleged attacker who had called her a “terrorist” because she was wearing the Muslim headscarf or hijab. She was scheduled to testify against him when this horrendous act took place. Ms. Al-Sherbini was wearing her hijab at the time of the attack. The
prosecutor at the hearing, described the attacker as having a deep hatred towards Muslims.

In the letter to Ambassador Scharioth, ADC National Executive Director Kareem Shora said, “We understand that a comprehensive legal investigation is being conducted by German authorities. However, this heinous crime must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. This attack is but the most recent incident involving anti-Muslim hate and intolerance targeted against the Muslim community in Germany.” The letter continued, “It is our hope that German authorities will use all available legal means to classify this as a hate-motivated murder and report it to the appropriate agencies monitoring anti-Muslim intolerance including the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).”

The letter concluded with an ADC request that “the German Government will take more concrete steps to protect the Muslim communities and Muslim institutions of Germany.”

US Appeals Court to Rehear Maher Arar´s Torture Case

A US federal appeals court will reconsider its decision with regards to a Canadian engineer’s lawsuit over torture he endured following being falsely mistaken for an Islamic extremist. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan was, according to the International Herald Tribune, unusual because the circuit assembles for a case but once or twice a year and because Maher Arar’s attorneys had yet to request a full hearing. The Syrian-born, Ottawa, Canada-resident was detained in 2002 after switching planes at JFK International Airport as he returned to Canada. Arar, 37, spent nearly a year in prison being tortured prior to being returned to Canada without charges. The Canadian government agreed to pay him almost $10 million and acknowledged it passed incorrect information regarding Arar’s participation with al-Qaeda to U.S. authorities. Arguments are scheduled for December 9th.

See full-text articles:

International Herald Tribune

The National Post

The National Post

US Appeals Court to Rehear Maher Arar’s Torture Case

A US federal appeals court will reconsider its decision with regards to a Canadian engineer’s lawsuit over torture he endured following being falsely mistaken for an Islamic extremist. The decision by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan was, according to the International Herald Tribune, unusual because the circuit assembles for a case but once or twice a year and because Maher Arar’s attorneys had yet to request a full hearing. The Syrian-born, Ottawa, Canada-resident was detained in 2002 after switching planes at JFK International Airport as he returned to Canada. Arar, 37, spent nearly a year in prison being tortured prior to being returned to Canada without charges. The Canadian government agreed to pay him almost $10 million and acknowledged it passed incorrect information regarding Arar’s participation with al-Qaeda to U.S. authorities. Arguments are scheduled for December 9th.

Muslim Scientist Sues US Over Bias

American Muslim nuclear physicist Abdel Moniem Ali el-Ganayni has issued a lawsuit against the US government, saying that his security clearance was revoked because of his faith and criticism of the Iraq war. El-Ganayni has worked at the government-financed Bettis laboratory for 18 years, but lost his security clearance by the Department of Energy last May – causing him to lose his job. The Department of Energy declined to give a reason for the physicist’s revoked security clearance, citing only national security. El-Ganayni was born in Egypt, but migrated to the United States in 1980, and was naturalized in 1988 after receiving his master’s and doctorate. In his lawsuit, El-Ganayni said that his rights to free speech, religion, and equal protections have been violated.

Process against Islamist Couple in Vienna begins in March

The lawsuit against a married couple for membership in a terrorist organisation will start in March. Mohamed M. (22) and his wife S. (20) are accused of being involved in the production and spread of a video threat against the “governments of Germany and Austria” in March 2007. In the video message, the military involvement of Austria in Afghanistan was – among other things – attacked. Mohamaed M. also run an Islamist webpage, reports say. In an internet chat, he allegedly spoke about targets in Austira, such as UNO-City, the Opec Headquaters or targets related to the football Euro cup. The couple was arrested last September. The trial will take place in Vienna. Manfred Seeh reports.