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Texas Medical Group Apologizes for Hijab Flap, Clarifies Policy on Religious Accommodation

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/2/09) – A prominent national Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization announced today that a major medical group in Texas has apologized to a Muslim job applicant and has agreed to “clarify” its policy on religious accommodation for employees who wear religious attire such as Islamic head scarves (hijab) or beards.
SEE: Clinic Apologizes for Telling Muslim Doctor She Can’t Wear Headscarf

Last week, the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reported that a Muslim doctor being interviewed for a position with CareNow, a medical group with 22 facilities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, was told that a “no hat” policy would prohibit her from wearing hijab. She was also reportedly informed that CareNow prohibits employees from wearing beards. (Many Muslim men view wearing a beard as a religious requirement.)
A CAIR letter to CareNow noted that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious practices of an employee, unless to do so would create an “undue hardship” on the employer.
SEE: Texas Medical Group Denies Muslim Doctor Right to Hijab
In an October 31 e-mail, CareNow President Tim Miller wrote:

“We regret the misunderstanding with Dr. Zaki. We will clarify our policy and continue to provide training to our current employees to try to prevent future misunderstandings. We look forward to sitting down with Dr. Zaki and discussing potential job opportunities. Bright, young doctors like her are just what we’re looking for.”

“We are pleased that all current and future CareNow employees will have their legal right to religious accommodation acknowledged and respected,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper.
He said CAIR’s South Carolina chapter recently assisted a Muslim worker who alleges that he suffered religious discrimination at the hands of co-workers after he requested a private place at work to perform his prayers.
SEE: Ex-SRS Worker Sues for Discrimination

Hooper added that CAIR offers a booklet, “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” designed to help prevent such incidents from occurring.
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 National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail:; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787 or 202-341-4171, E-Mail:


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