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CAIR-CAN Says Firing of Muslim Officer ‘Entirely Unnecessary’


(Ottawa, Canada ­ March 14, 2007) – The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CAN) today said the firing of a Muslim correctional officer in Bordeaux, Quebec, who wished to wear a religiously-mandated headscarf, or hijab, was “entirely unnecessary.”

The woman passed all preliminary tests and had completed more than a week of training without incident, but was then told her headscarf posed a safety risk. She was fired despite the fact that the Canadian Armed Forces and police departments in other cities, including Vancouver and Victoria, allow women to wearing the hijab on the front lines and in active duty.

SEE: Hijab Wearing Woman Fired

“Any safety issue could have been addressed through the use of a Velcro-fastened hijab, which would be removed quite easily in case of emergency,” said CAIR-CAN spokeswoman Sarah Elgazzar. “The entirely unnecessary action taken against this officer is a clear violation of the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms, which prohibits religion-based discrimination in hiring.”

Elgazzar questioned whether a correctional officer who wished to wear a headscarf because of hair loss due to chemotherapy would be treated in a similar manner.

CAIR-CAN Executive Director Karl Nickner said that CAIR-CAN is ready to meet with jail officials at Bordeaux jail and with Deputy Minister Jean Lartie to address the issue of hijab and safety.

CONTACT: Sarah Elgazzar, CAIR-CAN Spokeswoman at 514.776.6566, Sameer Zuberi, CAIR-CAN Communications Coordinator at 613.795.2012, or Karl Nickner, CAIR-CAN Executive Director at 613.254.9704 or 613.853.4111.


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