Louis Palme / Feb 28, 2015

Muslims are quick to litigate whenever their perceived religious rights are impacted.  Unfortunately, with each case they win, their community ultimately suffers.  Here are two recent examples:

In 2006, the Minnesota chapter of the Muslim American Society issued a fatwah (religious edict) prohibiting taxi cab drivers from carrying passengers transporting alcohol. About 75% of the 900 taxi cab drivers at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are Somali, mostly Muslim.  Passengers with dogs were also refused service. These refusals amounted to about 100 complaints a month. In April, 2007, the Metropolitan Airports Commission ordered that taxi cab drivers would face a two year suspension of their licenses if they refused to carry passengers carrying liquor or accompanied by dogs.  As a result, cab drivers were faced with either failing to comply with a religious fatwah or losing their jobs.   

In 2011, two McDonald’s Restaurants in Michigan introduced Islamic compliant (halal) Chicken McNuggets to accommodate the 150,000 or so Muslims in the Detroit area.  Ahmed Ahmed, an operator of a local health clinic, determined that the restaurants weren’t fully compliant with halal standards, and so he sued McDonald’s and won a $700,000 settlement.   Why didn’t he just work with the restaurants to make sure they were certified halal?  As a result, McDonald’s no longer offers halal menus.

In addition to lawsuits, Muslim groups are so intolerant of others that they ultimately destroy some of their most enduring traditions in America.   Dearborn, MI, has been holding an annual Arab International Festival since 1995. This event gathers some 300,000 people annually, not only from Michigan, but from all over the world.  Over time, however, Arab Muslims, who constitute only 25% of Arabs in the United States, began to view the festival as a strictly Muslim gathering, and non-Muslims were excluded.  The city even promulgated an unconstitutional, anti-free speech ordinance to placate the Muslims. Tensions reached a crisis point in 2009 when an Arab-American Christian pastor was arrested for passing out leaflets.  He was ultimately acquitted and the city had to pay him $103,401 in legal expenses.  In 2010 four other Christians were arrested for the same offense, and they, too, were ultimately acquitted by a jury trial.   In 2012, Christians were pelted with debris, and they sued the city for damages.  Because of the increased liability to the city owing to the rioting of intolerant Muslims, the festival was cancelled in 2013 and 2014.  It may never be held again.

Currently there is a case before the U.S. Supreme Court brought by Samantha Elauf, who in 2008 was a seventeen-year-old applicant for a sales job at an Abercrombie and Fitch outlet in Tulsa. She was refused the job because her head scarf did not fit in with the ‘classic East Coast collegiate’ look modeled by its employees.  With the backing of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), she sued A & F for $20,000 for discrimination in employment. A &F has fought this lawsuit through the entire circuit of judicial appeals at a cost that would bankrupt a smaller company.

In my opinion (and probably that of A & F), Ms. Elauf made a poor choice for a job.  A & F does not cater to Muslims and does not offer the distinctive Muslim conservative apparel required by Sharia Law.  Women’s fashions are discounted in Islamic ideology, except when describing the luxuries of Paradise. Sharia Law (Reliance of the Traveler, Section m11.5) stipulates that a woman is entitled to only one set of clothing per season, consisting of a head-covering, a shift, under-drawers, shoes, and a shawl.  Nothing more. The Quran (Surah 24:31) forbids women from even stamping their feet when walking so they won’t “reveal their hidden trinkets.”

Job applicants should be required to take responsibility for actually performing their jobs up to the full expectations of the employer.  If I feint at the sight of blood, I shouldn’t apply for a job in a clinic.  If I foolishly take such a job, then the first time I can’t perform my job because I am lying unconscious on the floor, I should be invited to seek other employment.    Muslims who want to take personal (or religious) exceptions to the job requirements should also be asked to seek other employment, and the courts should NOT protect their foolish choice of employment.

The long range consequences of this Supreme Court case will be quite serious and important, particularly for Muslims.  Here are some things to consider:

  1. Wearing a head scarf is NOT a religious requirement for Muslim women. Sharia Law (Reliance of the Traveler, Section m2.11) states, “Looking at a woman is permissible for testimony in court, for commercial dealings, and so forth.”
  2. Head scarves are worn by Muslim women as symbols of Islamic solidarity, or put another way, “gang symbols.” This practice began during the civil war in Lebanon in 1958.  Prior to that time there was no widespread wearing of headscarves except among rural, peasant women (of various religions).
  3. Muslim men and women are usually named after Islamic historical figures or with Arabic attributes. The plaintiff in the Supreme Court case is probably an exception, but most Muslim job applicants would unavoidably betray their Muslim/Arabic ancestry by their names.  For example, Muhammad is now the number one male birth name in England and Sophia (Safiya) is the number one female birth name.  Muhammad bedded with Safiya, a beautiful seventeen-year-old, just-widowed Jewish woman, the same night he beheaded 600 – 900 Jews in the market square in Medina in 627 A.D.  Safiya was one of his favorite concubines.
  4. Some pundits have suggested that employers should be responsible for asking applicants, “Do you have a religious problem with our job requirements?” Here’s the rub:  Many Muslim applicants for a job may not be aware of or truthful about all of the alleged Sharia Law requirements that their Imams or guardians may later impose on the prospective employee.  Many of these alleged religious requirements are not actually hard requirements per Sharia Law.  Examples include:  wearing headscarves or beard,  handling pork or alcohol (in packaging or containers), fixed prayer times during the work-day, using hand-sanitizers (in the case of health care workers),  a female sharing an office with an unrelated male, seeing a male or a female in a state of partial undress, being around dogs, and the list goes on and on.  Sharia Law actually provides exceptions for Muslim employees in certain situations. It says, for example, in R of T, Section f15.18(5) that if someone fears harm in earning his living he may postpone his prayers when it is impossible to leave  his work.  The point is there is still much room for misunderstanding when it comes to an employer asking an applicant if he or she has any religious problems with the job requirements.  A prudent employer -- and most successful employers became successful because they were prudent – will simply look at the applicant’s name and determine if he or she is possibly a Muslim.  The application would be rejected without even talking to the applicant.  Why would a prudent employer want to jeopardize his business success to deal with special kinds of “religious accommodation”?  Why would a prudent employer run the risk of a law suit running all the way to the Supreme Court over a sensitive job applicant?
  5. If the Supreme Court decides in favor of Samantha Elauf, it will have a chilling effect on the job prospects of all Muslims in the U.S., as well as non-Muslims who may happen to have Arabic or Muslim-like names. Muslim women cannot even marry out of their Muslim name, as it is forbidden for Muslim women to marry non-Muslims (per R of T, Section m6.7(5)).

If employers are constrained to hire unqualified and unwilling employees as a result of this Supreme Court decision, they will become very wary of anyone who might fit that description.  Once again, the Muslim community will be shooting itself in the foot.

There is a lesson here for Muslims who have come to the United States to escape the failed cultures of their homeland.  If you don’t let go of the ideology that was the root cause of that failure, you will remain mired in the same backwardness, intolerance, and subservience.  “Ala Ahliha tajni Baraqish.”  -- Baraqish brings nothing to her people but trouble.   Immigrants who have found success in the United States willingly integrate themselves into the new culture; they don’t embrace the “gang symbols” of the old world; they free themselves of their old taboos and fetishes; and they treat others as equals from whom they can learn and with whom they can share to make this country even better and more successful.  If your old culture had anything going for it, people would be migrating to there, instead of the other way around.  

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