Press Releases

CAIR-Ohio Files Complaint with Civil Rights Commission Over Columbus Police Hijab Ban

Ismahan(COLUMBUS, OH, 8/20/2015) – The Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Ohio) today filed an employment discrimination complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission over the Columbus police department’s refusal to hire Muslim women officers who wear religious head scarves, or hijab.

[ADVISORY: CAIR-Ohio will hold media availability on this issue later today. WHEN: August 20, 2:30 p.m. WHERE: CAIR-Ohio’s Office, 1505 Bethel Road, Suite 200, Columbus, OH 43220 CONTACT: CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney Romin Iqbal, 614 783 7953, riqbal@cair.com]

CAIR-Ohio filed the complaint after Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman recently told the Columbus Dispatch that he supports the hijab ban. Police Chief Kim Jacobs was quoted warning against hijab-wearing officers “turning anyone off†and stating, “If it’s a head scarf next week, it might be a burqa the next week.â€

SEE: Coleman Backs Head-Scarf Ban for Columbus Police Officers (Columbus Dispatch)

In March, 2015 a Muslim American woman recruit at the Columbus Police Academy was forced to drop out after that Columbus Police refused to grant her a religious accommodation for her hijab

SEE: Somali Police Recruit Leaves Class Over Head-Scarf Rule (Columbus Dispatch)

In his complaint filed with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney Romin Iqbal wrote in part:

“CAIR-Ohio brings this complaint to end the discriminatory ban on the hiring of Muslim women who wear a religious headscarf by Columbus Division of Police. . .The ban by Columbus Division of Police on hiring Muslim women who wear their religiously mandated headscarf discriminates against religious Muslim women who want to join the Columbus police force, and is a violation of Chapter 4112 of the Ohio Revised Code under which employers are required to provide reasonable accommodation for sincerely held religious belief of employees and prospective employees.â€

CAIR is 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.

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CONTACT: CAIR-Ohio Staff Attorney Romin Iqbal, 614 783 7953, riqbal@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, nnaeem@cair.com

 

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