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.
The Tulsa Police Deptartment is investigating a captain who refused an order to assign officers to attend an upcoming Islamic event because he said it would violate his religious beliefs. Capt. Paul Fields was reassigned after he refused to order officers under his command to attend the Islamic Center of Tulsa’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, a spokesman for the department said.
“It is my opinion and that of my legal counsel that forcing me to enter a Mosque when it is not directly related to a police call for service is a violation of my Civil Rights,” Fields wrote in an internal police department memo obtained by Fox News.
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.
A teenage Muslim girl filed a complaint against a store at Tulsa, Oklahoma’s Woodland Hills Mall, for refusing to hire her because she wears a headscarf. The girl says that a district manager for Abercrombie & Fitch told her that the religious garment doesn’t fit the retail chain’s image. CAIR helped the girl file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and asked the store to apologize to the girl. “Employers have a clear legal duty to accommodate the religious practices of their workers,” said Razi Hashmi, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations-Oklahoma. “To deny someone employment because of apparent religious bias goes against long-standing American traditions of tolerance and inclusion.”