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FEDEX ordered to allow religious beards for employees
Alhamdulillah, CAIR today announced that international shipping giant Federal Express Corporation (FedEx) has been ordered to allow employees to wear beards for religious reasons.
CAIR says FedEx entered into a “consent decree” with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ordering the company to “clarify its current Personal Appearance Policy…to specifically provide that an employee with a sincerely held religious belief that prevents the employee from removing his beard, or requires a particular hairstyle, may request an exemption to the policy.” (Civil Action No. CV100-50 [S.D.Ga.])
The order originated with a complaint filed in March of last year by a Muslim FedEx employee in Georgia who said the company violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by prohibiting what he considered to be a religiously-mandated beard. CAIR was in contact with the EEOC and the worker during the complaint process.
FedEx also agreed to pay $70,000 in back pay and compensatory damages to the Muslim worker and to hold training sessions in for managers that will outline EEOC obligations “relating to preventing religious discrimination and retaliation.”
“We appreciate the EEOC’s efforts to support religious accommodation for all workers in the United States. It is unfortunate that it took a court order to provide this accommodation for FedEx employees,” said CAIR Legal Counsel S. Eric Shakir. Shakir added that CAIR has received a number of complaints against FedEx from Muslim workers. One such complaint is currently under discussion with the company.
Muslims win rights in MO, VA, NE, and NJ
Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), CAIR has recently helped several incidents of anti-Muslim bias in communities across America. If you or anyone you know experiences similar acts of discrimination, contact CAIR’s Civil Rights Department (202-488-8787).
Ford workers allowed to attend Jummah
A Muslim autoworker at a Ford Motor Company plant in suburban St. Louis, Mo., is now allowed to attend Jummah prayers after initially being suspended for leaving work for that purpose. Company officials agreed to give the employee a two-hour break to attend the prayers after he filed a discrimination charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). CAIR worked with Ford officials to encourage the accommodation.
Staples employee permitted wear hijab
A Vienna, Va., Muslim employee has been reinstated and given back pay after being sent home from a Staples office supply store for refusing to remove her religiously-mandated headscarf. When CAIR informed Staples’ Framingham, Mass., corporate headquarters about the incident, company officials were sent to the store to apologize to the woman and to educate the manager about an employer’s legal obligation to allow religious dress.
Subway employee receives back pay
An Omaha, Neb., fast-food franchise has offered an area woman back pay after what store officials said was a misunderstanding over permission to wear a headscarf. The store’s owners also agreed to post notices in other stores they own, informing employees and managers that they must grant requests to wear religious clothing. CAIR congratulated store officials on their professionalism and sensitivity in resolving the issue.
Store owners apologize to Muslim customer
A Muslim woman in Atlantic City, N.J., received a written apology after she was turned away from a grocery store for wearing Islamic attire. The store’s owners also said the matter arose from a misunderstanding.
“Corporations need to make sure their managers are aware of the legal obligation to respect religious practices before an incident occurs, not after,” said Civil Rights Coordinator Ismail Royer. CAIR publishes a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to prevent these types of incidents from occurring.
New Jersey candidate stands by Muslims
CAIR is calling on Muslims in New Jersey and nationwide to express their support for a gubernatorial candidate’s refusal to disassociate himself from that state’s Muslim community, despite pressure to do so. (NOTE - Because CAIR is a tax-exempt organization, it cannot endorse specific political candidates.)
Since June, New Jersey Republican candidate Bret Schundler has come under fire for speaking at a meeting of the American Muslim Alliance (AMA). The New Jersey chapter of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that it found Schundler's attendance at the AMA meeting “troubling” because of unspecified statements challenging policies of the state of Israel made by group leaders. The newspaper quoted Schundler as saying that he would be caving in to anti-Muslim bigotry if he shunned AMA representatives. At that time, national Muslim groups issued a joint statement condemning the ADL’s “anti-Muslim McCarthyism.”
The latest flare-up began about a week ago when the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Jim McGreevey, met with local Jewish leaders and gave them two newspaper articles about Schundler’s meeting with the AMA. McGreevey's spokesman said that the leaders were offered the clippings to show that Schundler was “outside the mainstream.” The McGreevey campaign backed up its charges against the AMA by distributing materials produced by Steven Emerson, an infamous Muslim-basher who accused Muslims of perpetrating the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. The New Jersey chapter of the ADL once again supported criticism of the AMA.
In response to McGreevey’s accusations, Schundler said his opponent was attempting to divide voters and said one of his own goals was to meet with all religious and ethnic groups. The New York Times quoted Schundler as saying he “will not apologize for holding a dialogue with its [AMA] members to discuss his vision for New Jersey's future.”
Schundler accused McGreevey of being hypocritical and revealed that his opponent spoke at a leadership conference of the AMA’s New Jersey chapter. McGreevey also sponsored a resolution in the New Jersey State Legislature praising the AMA for its efforts to educate Muslim Americans about the American political process.
“By using tactics of political exclusion, the pro-Israel lobby is demonstrating its alarm at the increased presence of Muslims in America’s political process. These campaigns of vilification must end,” said CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad.
The attack on Schundler and on the AMA is similar to one (also involving Steven Emerson) that came during last year's New York Senate race between Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton. A Washington Post writer called those attacks “political pornography.” Lazio lost the election to Clinton.
Bush asked to condemn Israeli assassination campaign
The American Muslim Political Coordination Council (AMPCC), today issued a joint statement calling on President Bush to condemn Israel’s ongoing campaign of political assassinations and to support the introduction of an international force to protect Palestinian civilians. (The AMPCC consists of American Muslim Alliance, American Muslim Council, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and Muslim Public Affairs Council.) That campaign of extra-judicial killings just yesterday resulted in the deaths of two Palestinian children.
The AMPCC’s statement read in part:
“It is unconscionable that the United States issues only mild rebukes to a nation that is using American taxpayer-funded weapons in a campaign of political assassinations. Israel’s state-sponsored terrorism has been condemned even by our closest allies. It is only America that gives a green light to these bloody tactics, and it is America’s reputation and credibility that will suffer for years to come.
“How can we demand respect for human rights anywhere in the world while at the same time sending billions of dollars to support a state that violates human rights on a daily basis by targeting a civilian population with American weapons?
“Political intimidation by domestic lobbying groups should not prevent our government from upholding basic standards of international law and human rights. It is time for us to say that Israel’s brutal oppression of the Palestinian people will no longer be carried out in our name, using our tax dollars.
“Mr. President, we call on you to forcefully condemn Israel’s assassination campaign, to enforce the U.S. Arms Export Control Act by ending weapons shipments to that country and to support both the introduction of an international force to protect Palestinian civilians and the creation of an international war crimes tribunal to investigate and indict those responsible for the assassinations.”
Congressman Lantos attacks Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) treaty as "Treacherous"
CAIR today demanded that Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) retract and apologize for “deeply disturbing” remarks in a speech to a pro-Israel lobbying group describing a treaty signed by Prophet Muhammad as “treacherous.”
In a speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) that just came to light, Lantos said:
“So let me sketch for a moment how we in Congress see the last few months. Arafat walked away from a dream deal. Apparently, his approach to the peace process was based on the Treaty of 628 at Hudaibiyah, which was a treacherous treaty. Islamic forces made truce with non-Islamic elements, and they had no intention of keeping that agreement. They went on to attack, and destroyed those with whom they had made the treaty.”
“It is deeply disturbing that an elected official defames the Islamic faith and its final Prophet. This demonstrably false smear on the Prophet Muhammad’s reputation is a common 'talking point’ promoted by the pro-Israel lobby as justification for that state’s brutal and racist policies,” said CAIR Board Chairman Omar Ahmad.
In a letter to Lantos, CAIR Executive Director Nihad Awad wrote:
“The Prophet Muhammad never broke any agreement, regardless of strength or weakness. There is not one shred of evidence to back up this false allegation. With reference to authorities such as Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Saad, Al-Hakim and Bukhari, the following is an outline of the events surrounding the Treaty of Hudaybiah, the usual basis for this false allegation: 1) The Prophet and his companions were prevented by the pagan Arabs from performing their pilgrimage to Mecca (Umrah). Instead of fighting, and despite the willingness of his followers to enforce their religious rights, the Prophet chose a peaceful settlement. 2) Two years later, the pagan Arabs broke the treaty by attacking and killing 20 allies of the Muslims as they slept. It is internationally recognized that when one party breaks a treaty, the other party is released from its obligations. 3) Even after this attack, no bloody revenge was taken against those who broke the treaty. In fact, when the Muslims finally entered Mecca, amnesty was granted to nearly all former enemies. The Quran states: 'Yes, whoever fulfills his pledge and fears Allah much; verily, then Allah loves those who are the pious.’ 3:76. Also: 'And fulfill (every) covenant.’ 17:34”
In 1996, U.S. News & World Report editor-in-chief Mortimer Zuckerman also claimed the Prophet Muhammad had a “doctrine” of deceit in making treaties with enemies while he was weak and violating them when he was strong. In the magazine's June 24, 1996, issue, this claim was retracted. The editors wrote: “…We deeply regret any ambiguity in the language; Mr. Zuckerman meant no insult. He was referring to Mr. Arafat's reference to the Prophet and did not intend to state that this was the doctrine of the Prophet…it was the Meccans, not the prophet Muhammad, who broke the peace of Hudaybiah of 628.”
In 1999, Rep. Jim Saxton (R-NJ) clarified similar offensive remarks claiming the Prophet Muhammad upheld terms of a treaty only when it was politically expedient to do so. The clarification came after Saxton’s office received hundreds of faxes, emails and phone calls from concerned Muslims.