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CAIR-NY Files Religious and Sexual Harassment Complaint Against CUNY

Supervisor allegedly informed employee: ‘You need to learn to take abuse.’

(NEW YORK, NY, 4/8/2020) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of a Division on Human Rights discrimination complaint for employment and sexual harassment and hostile workplace against City University of New York (CUNY) on behalf of a Muslim female employee. 

SEEMuslim Woman Experienced Discrimination at CUNY: Complaint

In a statement, CAIR-New York Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed stated:

“CUNY condoned an atmosphere of hostility and abuse. CUNY supervisors were permitted to treat this brave young woman as an object of their entertainment. No employee should ever ‘learn to take abuse’ or be subjected to hostility and bigotry in the workplace. Our client was deliberately made to feel unsafe, unwanted and less than human.”

The Muslim female employee filing the complaint stated:

“I was a target of explicit bigotry and hate due to my religious identity in a diverse workplace such as CUNY that claims to promise a safe work environment. I felt everything but safe or respected.” 



According to the complaint, the Muslim female employee of Pakistani ancestry was subjected to a year-long campaign of hostility from her two supervisors at the Office of the Registrar.  Her male supervisor, the Executive University Registrar, is accused of asking her if Osama Bin Laden was related to Barack Obama and assuming she was Indian because she has a “long Jewish nose.”  

The male supervisor is also alleged to have body shamed and bullied the female employee.  For example, while offering her a donut, he told her “Take that, Somali” and explained that he called her a Somali because she’s skinny, doesn’t eat, and is hungry like a Somali. On one occasion he referred to a student with a Muslim/Arab name “another terrorist.” The female supervisor, the deputy registrar, is alleged to have displayed hostility towards religion with repeated insinuations that “church girls” were “quiet” and “quick” and always trying to lure men. She also taunted the female employee calling her a hypocrite for refusing to drink wine. The female supervisor also referred to the employee as dumb, threaten to withhold signing of her timesheet, and informed the employee that she needs to “learn to take the abuse.” 

The female supervisor is alleged to have also engaged in anti-Semitism against a Jewish female job applicant once the applicant did not shake hands with members of the opposite sex.  The female supervisor informed the staff that the job applicant “might be contagious” with measles, that her hand was itchy after shaking the applicant’s hand, and then proceeded to google search measles after the interview.
CAIR-New York is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

CONTACT: Ahmed Mohamed, CAIR-NY Litigation Director, 646-481-2103,

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