Court says store discriminated against Muslim

July 15, 2011

(RNS) Abercrombie & Fitch violated civil rights law when the clothier
refused to hire a Muslim woman because she wears a headscarf, a federal
district court has ruled.

"We were very excited to hear that the judge made the right decision
in finding that Abercrombie & Fitch was wrong when they chose to
discriminate against Samantha Elauf for choosing to wear a head scarf,"
said Zahra Billoo of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Elauf applied for a job at the retailer in Tulsa, Okla., in 2008,
and learned she was rejected because she wears a headscarf, also known
as a hijab.

The company, known for its catalogs of models in skimpy clothes,
argued that the hijab violated its "look policy," and that it has a
right to pursue its branding strategy.

But the Oklahoma federal judge ruled on Wednesday (July 13) the
company did not prove it would hurt business to allow Elauf to wear the
hijab, a symbol of faith and modesty for many Muslim women.

Abercrombie & Fitch could not be reached for comment.

A jury Monday will begin to determine damages.

The company has been accused of religious discrimination in two
other cases involving Muslim women who wear hijabs.