NY: MUSLIM CAN WEAR KUFI AT WORK AFTER DEAL IS REACHED WITH NY STATE
State prison officials will let a Muslim correction officer wear a skullcap while on duty as part of a settlement of a federal lawsuit that claimed it was unconstitutional for the state to refuse to make religious accommodations for prison guards.
The deal, announced Wednesday, came after the New York Civil Liberties Union last year filed a lawsuit on behalf of Abdus Samad N.
Haqq, who said New York's Department of Correctional Services ordered him in 2005 to stop wearing a kufi to his job at a halfway house. A kufi is a knitted skullcap that carries religious significance for many Muslim men.
The U.S. Department of Justice's civil rights division later filed its own lawsuit on Haqq's behalf to force the correction department to overhaul its grooming regulations for uniformed guards. That lawsuit is pending.
The deal settling the NYCLU lawsuit was approved by U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. on Friday.
The commissioner of the Department of Correctional Services, Brian Fischer, said in a statement Wednesday that resolving the case demonstrates the kind of "reasonable accommodations in the workplace" that need to be made regarding religious beliefs.
The NYCLU's associate legal director, Christopher Dunn, said the settlement was "an important victory" for Haqq, of Brooklyn, and correction officers around the state.