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Friday, January 30, 2009

Court orders UPS to pay Jersey City man for religious discrimination

30 Jan - USA:
A federal jury in Trenton ordered United Parcel Service to pay $10,000 to a Jersey City man who was denied a job because his Rastafarian religious beliefs forbid him from shaving his beard.

The suit, filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, charged that the Atlanta-based company discriminated against Roniss Mason, 31, by failing to make an exception to its "appearance guidelines" to accommodate his religious beliefs. He had applied in 2004 for a job as a driver's assistant.

Michael Ranis, a lawyer for the Employment Opportunity Commission, said Thursday's verdict could have broad impact for religious men, including Muslims, Sikhs and Orthadox (sic) Jews.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

RCMP recruit wins support

27 Jan - Canada:
The Canadian Race Relations Foundation has lent its support to an ex-RCMP recruit who successfully argued before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that discrimination prevented him from finishing his Mountie training.

Iranian-born Muslim Ali Tahmourpour, 36, appeared with several anti-racism leaders yesterday in a press conference at the CRRF's Yonge St. and Hwy. 401 offices.

After starting training with the Mounties in July 1999, he was dismissed in October of that year because he failed to meet training standards, according to the Mounties. But the rights tribunal felt otherwise, and ruled "the RCMP's discriminatory conduct caused Mr. Tahmourpour to lose the opportunity to develop and demonstrate, in his full potential, the necessary skills to become an RCMP officer."


Tahmourpour (who declined to comment yesterday) contended at the 2007 tribunal hearing that the RCMP of subjecting him to discrimination during training, including claims he was singled out for wearing a religious pendant and ridiculed for signing his name to documents in Persian.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Hard hat vs turban battle goes to hearing

26 Jan - Toronto, Canada:
A Sikh security guard who was asked to trade in his turban for a hard hat at a Milton Home Depot will have his case heard before the Human Rights tribunal today.

Deepinder Loomba has been fighting the hardware franchise for almost four years after a supervisor at a Home Depot construction site asked Loomba to wear a hard hat.

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Friday, January 23, 2009

EEOC and UNITED SIKHS Settle Lawsuit Against Security Firm in Employment Discrimination Case

23 Jan - Texas, USA:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), assisted by UNITED SIKHS, settled an employment discrimination case earlier this week against Champion National Security, a security firm that discriminated against Sukhdev Singh Brar.

The EEOC sought compensatory and punitive damages when filing the employment discrimination action against the security company, after numerous consultations with UNITED SIKHS to understand the importance of kesh (unshorn hair) covered by a dastaar (Sikh turban) as one of the five articles of faith Sikhs are required to wear as an inherent practice of the Sikh faith. Champion National Security settled the case, acknowledging the discriminatory policy and agreeing to a written change in company policy with continued Sikh awareness training, to be provided by UNITED SIKHS. Champion National Security will also post anti-discrimination notices on all employee bulletin boards and compensate Sukhdev Singh $24,000.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

'It was racial,' says attack vic

20 Jan - New York:
A 21-year-old Sikh man was viciously beaten and stabbed in his left eye in Queens by three men who, he said Monday night, taunted him for his traditional beard and pulled his long hair.

Jasmir Singh of Richmond Hill was hanging out with a friend near a Jackson Heights grocery store about 4:49 a.m. Sunday when the men began hurling insults at the pair.

Singh, who is being treated at Elmhurst Hospital Center, claimed the attackers singled him out because of his long hair and traditional Sikh beard.

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Thursday, January 15, 2009

Groups say veil ban unlawful, unfairly targets Muslims

15 Jan - Australia:
SHOPKEEPERS are demanding sunglasses, baseball caps and religious face veils be banned to guard against criminals trying to hide their identities.

The Queensland Retailers Association yesterday declared its members should have the right to ban customers from wearing any clothing that obscured faces.

But the proposed ban has outraged civil libertarians, Islamic groups and Queensland's Anti-Discrimination Commission. They say the move would be unlawful and unfairly target Muslims and teenagers.

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Friday, January 09, 2009

IRS Kirpan Case Heads to Federal Court

8 Jan - USA:
The Sikh Coalition filed suit against the federal government this week to protect a Sikh employee's right to wear her kirpan to work. The lawsuit alleges that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Federal Protective Service (FPS) discriminated against Kawaljeet Kaur Tagore by prohibiting her from carrying a kirpan, a mandatory article of faith, on her job as a revenue agent at the Mickey Leland Federal Building in downtown Houston. Ms. Tagore was fired from her job in July 2006 because she refused to remove her kirpan.

"Sikhs should be entitled to work for their government, just like other Americans. In this case, the government put Ms. Tagore in the unacceptable position of choosing between her religion and her job." said Harsimran Kaur, the Sikh Coalition's Legal Director.

The lawsuit claims that the government's conduct violated both the
Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964. It alleges that the FPS and IRS banned the
kirpan as a so-called "dangerous weapon," even though the government
allows hundreds of sharp knives and box cutters in the Leland
Building. Government officials banned Tagore's kirpan sight unseen,
failing to conduct any examination whatsoever of the kirpan before
banning it outright.

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SALDEF and Pearson VUE Join Together To Increase Diversity Awareness

7 Jan - USA:
The Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF), the oldest and largest Sikh American civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, is
collaborating with the international computer-based testing business of Pearson VUE, to increase diversity awareness and service to minority communities.

In a mutual effort to increase understanding of minority communities in the United States and abroad, SALDEF is working with Pearson VUE to disseminate information about Sikhs and Sikh American cultural practices. Additionally, SALDEF will be invited to conduct Sikhism 101 trainings for Pearson VUE employees at regional seminars Pearson VUE will host across the United States.

In follow up to discussions with SALDEF, Pearson VUE reaffirms its support of Sikh patrons choosing to maintain religious accoutrements such as the daastar (turban) and kara (steel bracelet). Additionally, Pearson VUE and SALDEF acknowledged that Sikhs may undergo further scrutiny due to their kirpan (religious sword). As a result, an understanding was developed and adopted by Pearson VUE to foster an appreciation of Sikh cultural practices.

"The communication and equal partnership between SALDEF and Pearson VUE is unmatched by any other company in the United States." said SALDEF National Director Rajbir Singh Datta. "The more Corporate America works with members of minority communities, the better their services will be received and the more aware society will become about the issues facing these communities. We look forward to working with Pearson VUE in the future and providing ongoing training and
information on Sikhs and Sikhism."

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Thursday, January 08, 2009

Bellerose man injured in hate attack

7 Jan - New Tork, USA:
For Bellerose resident Balbir Singh, New Year’s Eve was not a time of celebration.

After a violent attack outside his home on 248th Street in Bellerose that left blood gushing from his right eye, Balbir Singh, 40, spent nearly nine hours on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center.

The man, whom Community Board 13 member Swaranjit Singh said was the victim of a hate crime because he is a Sikh, cannot go back to work as a taxi driver for at least a week as the result of the injuries he sustained during the attack. He suffered a fracture in his right eye socket.


Swaranjit Singh, who is running for the 23rd City Council District seat, now held by Councilman David Weprin (D-Hollis), said the event was one of several attacks, verbal and physical, that Sikhs have suffered in the neighborhood. The community board member said Sikhs, some of whom wear turbans on their heads, are often mistaken for Muslims and have been especially targeted after Sept. 11, 2001.

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Tuesday, January 06, 2009

240,000 dollars awarded to man forced to cover Arab T-shirt

6 Jan - USA:

NEW YORK (AFP) – An airline passenger forced to cover his T-shirt because it displayed Arabic script has been awarded 240,000 dollars in compensation, campaigners said Monday.

Raed Jarrar received the pay out on Friday from two US Transportation Security Authority officials and from JetBlue Airways following the August 2006 incident at New York's JFK Airport, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced.

"The outcome of this case is a victory for free speech and a blow to the discriminatory practice of racial profiling," said Aden Fine, a lawyer with ACLU.


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Monday, January 05, 2009

Muslims find it safest in city schools

4 Jan - USA:
Although more than one in three Muslim students said they had been hit with ethnic slurs in the past year, only one in six said it happened in school.

More than 600 students from 90 public schools participated in the three-year study conducted by Columbia University's Teachers College.

Most of the Muslim students said that although they still face bias, it has gotten better since the first few years following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Still, 36% of the students said they a faced at least one "discriminatory verbal incident" in the past year.

The study found 28% of Muslim students said they or a relative have been stopped by police as a result of "racial profiling," 12% reported they or a relative had been turned down for a job based on discrimination, 11% had property destroyed and 7% said they or a family member had been physically assaulted.

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Friday, January 02, 2009

'Safest' seat remarks get Muslim family kicked off plane

2 Jan - USA:
A Muslim family removed from an airliner Thursday after passengers became concerned about their conversation say AirTran officials refused to rebook them, even after FBI investigators cleared them of wrongdoing.

Atif Irfan said federal authorities removed eight members of his extended family and a friend after passengers heard them discussing the safest place to sit and misconstrued the nature of the conversation.

Irfan, a U.S. citizen and tax attorney, said he was "impressed with the professionalism" of the FBI agents who questioned him, but said he felt mistreated when the airline refused to book the family for a later flight.


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About DNSI

The Discrimination & National Security Initiative (DNSI) is a research entity that examines the mistreatment of minority communities during times of military action or national crisis.

More Info:
DNSI Home Page

The Blog

Why a Blog?
The purpose of this web-log is to offer news and commentary in a fluid, dynamic format while our more substantive reports are forthcoming.

Recent Posts
Court orders UPS to pay Jersey City man for religi...
RCMP recruit wins support
Hard hat vs turban battle goes to hearing
EEOC and UNITED SIKHS Settle Lawsuit Against Secur...
'It was racial,' says attack vic
Groups say veil ban unlawful, unfairly targets Mus...
IRS Kirpan Case Heads to Federal Court
SALDEF and Pearson VUE Join Together To Increase D...
Bellerose man injured in hate attack
240,000 dollars awarded to man forced to cover Ara...

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