CAIR: MUSLIM'S LAWSUIT ALLEGES HUMILIATION
Just before he was scheduled to undergo surgery to treat oral cancer, Mohammed A. Hussain went to the bathroom at the hospital -- and that's when he says the humiliation began.
Inside the restroom at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, the 61-year-old Muslim performed the Islamic ritual of washing his hands and feet. The private ritual, known as wudhu, was to purify his body and soul before praying.
But Hussain never got to pray. A hospital security guard saw him washing himself in the sink, Hussain said, and proceeded to manhandle him, yell racial epithets at him, push him down the corridor and order him to exit the hospital.
"He was just very loud and yelling at me," Hussain said. "He pushed me and literally dragged me into the lobby. . . . It was very terrifying."
Hussain filed a $30 million lawsuit Friday against the hospital, alleging assault, battery and emotional distress from the incident about 10 a.m. March 22. . .
A survey by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington-based civil rights and advocacy group, found last year that just 2 percent of Americans were "very knowledgeable" about Islam and that 60 percent were "not very knowledgeable" or "not at all knowledgeable" about the religion.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll last year found that nearly half of Americans had a negative view of Islam.
Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the council, said education is the key to overcoming the kind of prejudices Hussain faced.
"I think it's just a lack of knowledge of Islam and basic Islamic practices that led to this unfortunate misunderstanding," Hooper said. "With the filing of this lawsuit, there may be more awareness in the general society about what to Muslims is a fairly routine practice but to others who don't know what it is might be something that they would be concerned about."