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Seattle area Muslim Women, Interfaith, and Civil Society Leaders to Celebrate ‘Historic’ Supreme Court Ruling

CAIR WA(SEATTLE, WA, 6/2/15) – On June 2, Seattle-area Muslim students and professionals will hold a celebration to welcome what they call a “historic” ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in favor of a Muslim woman who sued Abercrombie & Fitch after she was denied a job because she wore an Islamic head scarf (hijab). [NOTE: The event is being co-sponsored by the Washington State chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).]

WHAT: Seattle area Muslim women, interfaith, and civil society leaders to celebrate 'Historic' Supreme Court Ruling

WHEN:  Tuesday, June 2, 2015, 6 – 7:30pm

WHERE: Erickson Theatre Off Broadway, 1524 Harvard Ave., Seattle, WA 98122.

AUDIO/VIDEO OPPORTUNITIES: About 40 spirited participants will attend a reception in a room with food, music, and US flags, followed by short speeches. Speakers will also be available for interviews.

MEDIA CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, , 206.931.3655.

In an 8-1 vote, the court ruled in favor of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that sued the company on behalf of Samantha Elauf. This case was originally brought to the EEOC on behalf of Elauf by CAIR's Oklahoma chapter in 2008 when she filed a complaint of discrimination with that office.
CAIR's national office filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the case.

At issue was whether an employer can be liable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for refusing to hire an applicant or discharging an employee based on a “religious observance and practice” only if the employer has actual knowledge that a religious accommodation was required and the employer's actual knowledge resulted from direct, explicit notice from the applicant or employee.

In its ruling, the court stated in part:

“eligious practice is one of the protected characteristics that cannot be accorded disparate treatment and must be accommodated. . .Title VII does not demand mere neutrality with regard to religious practices — that they be treated no worse than other practices. Rather, it gives them favored treatment. . .Title VII requires otherwise-neutral policies to give way to the need for an accommodation.”
“This event will be a celebration of today’s historic Supreme Court decision, which is a victory for the Constitution and for American values of religious freedom,†said Varisha Khan, a co-organizer. “It’s also yet another reminder for employers to put religious accommodations in their policies to ensure positive interactions. And thanks to this case, Muslim women across the nation now have more confidence that religious headscarves must be allowed by their employers.â€

CAIR offers a booklet, called “An Employer's Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.

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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MEDIA CONTACT: CAIR-WA Executive Director Arsalan Bukhari, , 206.931.3655.


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