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Muslim Woman Sues Disney Over Hijab

Imane Boudlal, a hostess in a Disneyland restaurant, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the theme park because its management allegedly did not allow her to wear a hijab at work. Boudlal decided to wear the hijab, a head scarf, in honor of Ramadan and wore it to work for the first time over a week ago. She was told that Disney would give her a head scarf that fit with the restaurant’s theme and that she could not wear hers in the meantime, according to the Associated Press. She was given the option to either work in a back room or go home if she chose to wear her head scarf. Disney Spokeswoman Suzi Brown denies the allegations. “Typically, somebody in an on-stage position like hers wouldn’t wear something like that, that’s not part of the costume,” Brown told the Associated Press. “We were trying to accommodate her with a backstage position that would allow her to work.” According to OC 180 News, Disney has a comprehensive employee dress code manual entitled “The Disney Look”. Attorney Fred Peters said, “Disney will certainly argue that being an employee in the Disney Grand Californian Hotel includes a thematic element as part of the ‘show’… Disneyland does not allow ‘on-stage’ employees to wear visible crucifixes, yarmulkes or other religious items, and headscarves will be considered the same way.” Boudlal is being supported by her union and a number of Muslim and activist groups. Ameena Mirza Qazi, Deputy Executive Director and Staff Attorney for Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Los Angeles, said, “There is no justification for Disney’s refusal to allow Ms. Boudlal to wear her headscarf at work. To say that her headscarf would somehow impact guests is not only insulting to her, but is deeply offensive to the thousands of Muslims who open up their pocket-books at Disney parks and resorts every year,” according to All Headline News.

Sources:

Associated Press 8/19/10; OC 180 News 8/21/10; All Headline News 8/19/10