Judicial Watch • Obama Judge: Hijab Ban Violates Muslim Civil Rights

Obama Judge: Hijab Ban Violates Muslim Civil Rights

Obama Judge: Hijab Ban Violates Muslim Civil Rights

SEPTEMBER 10, 2013

An Obama-appointed federal judge has handed the administration a major victory, ruling that a Muslim woman’s civil rights were violated by an American clothing retailer that didn’t allow her to wear a head scarf as required by her religion.

The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces the nation’s workplace discrimination laws. In 2011 the agency sued the retail giant, Abercrombie & Fitch, accusing it of religious discrimination for firing 19-year-old Umme-Hani Khan for wearing a hijab at a northern California store. The company, which focuses on hip casual wear for consumers aged 18 to 22, has a policy against head covers of any kind for its employees.

In the case of this Muslim woman it amounts to discrimination based on religion, according to the EEOC, and that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Employers are required to accommodate the sincere religious beliefs or practices of employees, the agency says, unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on business.

This month Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers of the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, agreed, ruling that Abercrombie & Fitch is liable for failing to accommodate the Muslim woman’s religious beliefs and may owe punitive damages. “Reasonable jurors could determine that by offering Khan one option—to remove her hijab despite her religious beliefs—Abercrombie acted with malice, reckless indifference or in the face of a perceived risk that its actions violated federal law,” the judge writes in her 27-page opinion.

Gonzalez Rogers was appointed to the federal bench by President Obama in mid-2011. Her husband, Matthew Rogers, has served in various positions in the Obama administration, including the president’s transition team and as a top advisor in the Department of Energy (DOE). In fact, Rogers served as the DOE official overseeing Obama’s scandal-plagued green loan program that’s fleeced American taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Remember Solyndra?    

Judge Gonzalez Rogers also has an interesting résumé that illustrates activism in a number of leftwing causes, according to the Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire required of judicial candidates. She was vice president of the California La Raza Lawyers Association, on the board of directors of the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association and served on the board of the La Raza Centro Legal, a community organization dedicated to empowering Latino, immigrant and low-income communities. In 2010 Gonzalez Rogers was awarded judge of the year by the San Francisco La Raza Lawyers Association, whose mission is “promoting reform in the law.”

Another interesting tidbit in this story is that the Muslim woman was represented by a renowned Islamic terrorist front group, Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), that has close ties to the Obama administration. Last year the president’s deputies held hundreds of closed-door meetings with CAIR officials and shortly after the FBI purged its anti-terrorism training curricula of material determined to be “offensive” to Muslims. Judicial Watch uncovered this scandal and obtained the FBI records just a few weeks ago.

A few weeks ago CAIR got several police departments in Illinois to cancel their anti-terrorism training over accusations that the instructor was anti-Muslim. The course was called “Islamic Awareness as a Counter-Terrorist Strategy” and departments in Lombard, Elmhurst and Highland Park caved into CAIR’s demands. The group responded with a statement commending officials for their “swift action in addressing the Muslim community’s concerns.”

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