A Tulsa teenager levels allegations of religious discrimination at a Tulsa clothing store. She says she was denied a job at Abercrombie and Fitch because she wears a Muslim headscarf. News On 6 anchor Jennifer Loren reports in an exclusive that the teen and an Islamic advocacy group have filed an official complaint and are seeking public support.
Like many her age, the 18-year-old high school graduate is into music and fashion. But, unlike many Tulsa teens she is Muslim and wears a headscarf.
“It’s a hard thing to start wearing a headscarf because there’s always side effects of wearing a headscarf. People like saying things and stuff like that,” said the applicant.
She asked The News On 6 not to identify her because her mother fears for her safety. She’s stirred up a controversy. It all started with a simple job application at Woodland Hills Mall. She says the district manager for Abercrombie and Fitch denied her a job she was qualified for.
“And, he was like no she can’t work here no matter what, wearing that on her head,” said the applicant.
According to her, the manager said she did not fit the Abercrombie image. Just so there is no confusion on what that image is, The News On 6 discovered that the store supplies their employees with an image booklet. It even asks the question: “Does your staff look like ours?”
“You can’t tell if someone’s Muslim or not, you know?” said the applicant.
For the first time in her life, she felt she had been discriminated against because of her religion. But, she was going to fight it.
“Yeah, I’m proud of who I am. I’m not going to change who I am just to work somewhere,” said the applicant.
She enlisted the help of the Islamic advocacy group, CAIR Oklahoma.
Based off the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CAIR filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and asked Abercrombie for an apology.
“And it’s our First Amendment, protection and freedom of religion. And so, we want to make sure they adhere to what America really is,” said Razi Hashmi with CAIR Oklahoma.
For a young woman looking toward college and her place in the world, this fight means more than a job at Abercrombie and Fitch.
“I think it will set an example for Muslim girls not to be afraid to apply for a job just because they wear a headscarf,” said the applicant. (MORE)