U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Retailer, Supports Woman Wearing Hijab

stranger 209 nada, photo by peter grifoni

stranger 209 nada, photo by peter grifoni

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Monday, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia ruled in favor of Samantha Elauf in a suit against an Abercombie & Fitch store in Oklahoma over the discrimination she experienced in 2008. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) brought the suit on behalf of Elauf who had sought employment with the popular retail chain as a sales person. According to reports she interviewed well, but wasn’t hired because managers viewed her head scarf “hijab” as contrary to the company’s image.

In its defense, the company said it had a standard “look policy” for its sales staff that did not include wearing a head scarf. It also said Elauf had never informed it of her religion nor of her need for accommodation based on her faith. This specious argument was as dubious as those practiced by employers pre-Civil Rights America during which African-American candidates were denied jobs by stating that they “didn’t fit in” or that “the customers may feel unsafe.”

In fact, Scalia described the case of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission vs. Abercrombie as “easy” because the store managers knew or “at least suspected” Elauf wore the head scarf for religious reasons. Her hijab was as obvious as the color of an African-American’s skin. In an age with ubiquitous and easy access to information through the internet, one would have to live under a rock to claim no knowledge of the religious significance of this type of head covering for Muslim women.

Justice Scalia stated that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 puts the legal burden on employers not to discriminate. It gives “favored treatment” to religion, and “religious practice is one of the protected characteristics … that must be accommodated.” The majority ruled that it did not matter whether Elauf informed the company of her need for religious accommodation as long as the desire to avoid making such an accommodation was part of the company’s action. (Source: L.A. Times)

This favorable ruling is a win for not only observant Muslim women, but also Orthodox Jewish women who are also required to cover their heads while in public. This ruling is also significant in that it can provision additional freedoms for observant religious people like Muslims and Jews who abstain from work on holy days of the year, many of which conflict with employer work schedules.

“This case dramatically changes the standards that apply to employers because it removes the requirement that an employee or applicant request a religious accommodation, if the employer’s motive is later deemed a violation of Title VII” of the Civil Rights Act, said Michael Droke, a Seattle lawyer.

This ruling sets the U.S. apart from the European Union. Many countries in the E.U. have enacted increasingly discriminatory laws aimed at Muslims, and because of increased secularism it has also given rise to new levels of anti-Semitism. Notably, France, which has sought to keep religion out of public spaces and schools, in 2010 law banned the wearing of full-faced veils in public, and last year a French appeals court upheld the dismissal of a Muslim day-care employee for refusing to remove her head scarf at work.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 ruled that employers may not “refuse to hire” or otherwise discriminate against someone because of their “race, color, religion, sex or national origin.” And the law says religion “includes all aspects of religious observance or practice as well as belief.”

A federal judge ruled Elauf was a victim of illegal discrimination, and a jury awarded her $20,000 in compensation.

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Man Eaten by Pigs in Midst of Pork Shortage


Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 15:11 PM EDT, 2 October 2012

Mackey Photography, Hog, Photo by Tanya JoCOQUILLE, Oregon – Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Christians, Jews, and Muslims do not eat pork because it is forbidden by religious statute.

So, the recent discussions and angst expressed by some in the American media about the pork shortage, has left many people of the aforementioned faiths nonplussed.

For some, the thought of eating pork evokes a visceral aversion based upon the evidence that pigs and hogs will eat anything, including their own feces.

Some may ask, what is the difference between a pig, a hog, and a swine?

Not much, since both are swine, but pigs weigh less than 120 lbs (50 kg), while hogs weigh in excess of this amount, and are generally older and possess ferocious appetites. Neither are as aggressive as wild hogs, also known as boars, but given the right circumstances they can and have bitten humans.

Thus, the sad tale of Terry Vance Garner, 69, begins and ends with pigs. First, our condolences go out to the family of this hardworking farmer who seemed to earn a living doing honest if unpleasant work so that other people could enjoy non-agro farmed pork.

This post is less about the death of the farmer than it is about the wisdom of consuming an animal with such an indiscriminate palate.

Apparently, last Wednesday, 26 September 2012, Mr. Garner went out to feed his hogs but never returned according to his family. Because of his age, some believed that he may have suffered a medical emergency and was unable to get back to the house.

When family members went out to look for him in and around the area he was last headed, after several hours of searching, they discovered to their horror, Garner's dentures and pieces of his body in the hog enclosure. The remaining parts of his body were not located which led to the conclusion that it had been completely eaten by the hogs.

On Monday, Paul Frasier, District Attorney of Coos County, in which the town of Coquille is situated, released a preliminary statement indicating that Mr. Garner had been eaten by his hogs, some of them weighing in excess of 700 lbs (318 kg). Although, it appears to be an accidental death, an investigation has been launched to rule out foul play because the manner of Garner's death was so unusual.

However, authorities are also pursuing a line of inquiry that suggests that he suffered a debilitating health emergency and died in the enclosure, at which point the hogs consumed him.

Food for thought……

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Ratko Mladić | Serbian Butcher Arrested

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-ChiefLast Modified: 17:09 PM EDT, 26 May 2011

Evstafiev-Ratko Mladić, 1993

On  26 May 2011, Serbian security forces arrested Ratko Mladić in Lazarevo, Serbia.  He had eluded apprehension for 16 years despite a large monetary award for his capture.

Mladić was the former Chief of Staff of the Army of the Republika Srpska (the Bosnian Serb Army) during the 1992–1995 Bosnian War.  In his capacity as Chief of Staff, he led both the Siege of Sarajevo and the Srebrenica massacre. (Source: Wikipedia)

In 1995 after fleeing and subsequently going into hiding, Mladić was indicted by the International Criminal Tribunal (ICTY) off genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. 

In October 2010, Serbia intensified the hunt and with the financial support of the United States increased the reward for Mladić's capture from 5 million to 10 million euros. Thus, he became one of Europe's most wanted fugitives.  As a consequence of his ability to elude capture for over a decade the Serbia government asked Interpol to assistance them in the apprehension of Mladić.  His capture was considered a precondition for Serbia to join the European Union.

The arrest has been widely hailed as a huge success for Serbia and its Westward-leaning president, Boris Tadic. Mr. Tadic declared that the arrest had “closed one chapter of our recent history that will bring us one step closer to full reconciliation in the region” and that Serbia had “wiped the stain” away.

Mladić's most unconscionable act was the notorious Srebrenica massacre in which 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were killed by the Army of the Republika Srpska, VRS under his command.  He is also charged with crimes related to the VRS' siege of Sarajevo, which lasted more than 1,400 days and resulted in the deaths of around 10,000 civilians, with a further 56,000 wounded.