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Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Muslim athletes accuse New Mexico State of religious discrimination

Three former New Mexico State University football players — all Muslims — sued the university and coach Hal Mumme on Monday, saying they were dismissed from the team because of their religious beliefs.
The American Civil Liberties Union filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of Mu’Ammar Ali and brothers Anthony and Vincent Thompson.

"Universities are supposed to be places of evolved thinking and reason, not of base intolerance and bigotry" said Peter Simonson, executive director of ACLU New Mexico. "In this case, the university failed its purpose, and a coach indulged in those prejudices to assert his own religious preferences over the players and the team."

The lawsuit alleges Mumme, who was hired by New Mexico State in January 2005, instituted a "religious brotherhood" within the football team and singled out Muslim athletes. It claims Mumme had players recite the Lord’s Prayer after each practice and before each game. Ali and the Thompsons said that practice made them feel like outcasts and caused them to pray separately from the other players. [Link]

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