School bus driver Seham Nabry says her boss confiscated her prayer mats and complained that her ritual hand and feet washing messed up the office bathroom. She also says he blared Christian music and taunted Muslim workers as they prayed.

Nabry said giving up her daily prayers – one of the five pillars of Islam – wasn’t an option. So she did what more and more Muslims in Minnesota and across the country are doing – she sued her employer.

“People told me I should just leave the job and find a new job, but I was thinking if I leave this job, there’s no guarantee there won’t be another manager like him,” said Nabry, a Burnsville resident who emigrated from Sudan. “I came to America for freedom. Why should I walk away?”

In Minnesota, the number of Muslims filing federal complaints about being targeted at work because of their faith climbed from four a decade ago to 66 last year. Nationally, the number has more than doubled since the mid-1990s. Federal officials point to a rising number of Muslims in the country and a post-Sept. 11 backlash as reasons for the increase.


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