CA college investigates anti-Muslim discrimination
The Southern California office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-LA) today applauded a decision by Antelope Valley College (AVC) in Lancaster, Calif., to open an investigation into an incident in which a professor allegedly ordered a Muslim student to take off her religiously-mandated head scarf, or hijab.
The Muslim electrical engineering student reported to CAIR-LA that the professor told her "to either stay and follow his rules (by removing the scarf) or leave the class." He allegedly made this demand despite being told the student wears the scarf for religious reasons. (The same professor allegely did not react to the presence of a male student wearing a bandana.)
See: College Probes Alleged Religious Bias
After a discussion with one of the college's deans, the Muslim student was allowed to return to the class while wearing her scarf, but says she continues to feel intimidated and excluded by the professor's ongoing actions.
Representatives of CAIR-LA, the Los Angeles Hate Crime Task Force in the Antelope Valley area, and local interfaith and community leaders joined the student's family members in a meeting with the president of the college.
At that meeting, CAIR-LA requested that AVC initiate an investigation into the incident, take disciplinary action against the professor, issue an apology to the Muslim student, and conduct sensitivity trainings for faculty and staff at the college.
AVC's president promised to launch an investigation and take all necessary steps to resolve the matter.
"We commend Antelope Valley College for its swift response to this disturbing incident," said Ra'id Faraj, CAIR-Southern California Public Relations Director. "The religious rights of all students, regardless of their faith, ethnicity or background should be protected and respected."
CAIR, America's largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has 25 offices nationwide and in Canada.