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August 23rd, 2010
10:41 AM ET

Muslim woman suing Disney

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: California • Culture & Science • Islam • Muslim • United States • Women

soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Amrita

    Disney is a business and has the absolute right to require an employee dress code, especially when there was a contract up front that she had to sign. She was probably put up to this by some imam or parent through whom they want to make a point. Let her work backstage and be done with it. I sincerely hope this is thrown out of court. I'm sick of Islamic people wanting to stand out and make a point unless she wants to turn this into a political statement. Islam has become not only a religion but a political movement. And, btw, I don't care to see Snow White in a wheelchair. Of course, a child can have dreams but part of Disneyland and Disney World is to be in a non-existent fairy world for a while. Of course, maybe SW could have a broken leg for a while because she tripped over Dopey.

    August 24, 2010 at 4:54 am |
    • Fatmeh

      whats the big deal? this cloth doesnt change her act towards tourists, it just changes how she looks..
      what if she got a really bad coldsore? wud they decide it wasnt part of the dresscode and that she shudnt work were she can be seen anymore? .. our good friend disney teaches us that looks dont matter (beauty and the beast) .. so really all i cud say to disney is PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH..

      August 24, 2010 at 5:03 am |
    • David Johnson

      @Fatmeh

      You said, "whats the big deal? this cloth doesnt change her act towards tourists, it just changes how she looks..
      what if she got a really bad coldsore? wud they decide it wasnt part of the dresscode and that she shudnt work were she can be seen anymore? .. our good friend disney teaches us that looks dont matter (beauty and the beast) .. so really all i cud say to disney is PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH.."

      Or what if one of the men in her life had to smack her? Yep, we would want to cover that.

      August 24, 2010 at 10:24 am |
    • gillyzmama

      @ Amrita- the ironic part of this whole debacle is that SHE is not willing to compromise at all. She has been offered work in backstage areas, but refuses to be "kept in a back room". Having worked at many locations in the Park during my tenure at Disneyland, it was often a relief to work in said back room, just to get away from the crowds for a while. (some of my fondest memories are working in the kitchen and talking to the various chefs, and taking care of the various park animals backstage).

      August 24, 2010 at 10:41 am |
    • arlig

      Hatmeh, the big deal is that we don't want to look at your ugly head dresses. Keep your fantasies to yourself. pray all you want in your own home on your own time, but don't involve the rest of us that know better. Why would a muslim want to work at Disney, the ultimate symbol of American Captialism anyway?

      August 24, 2010 at 3:49 pm |
  2. Fatmeh

    hey wait..
    what happened to FREE COUNTRY?
    disney doesnt want her to work just cuz of a piece of cloth on her head? really??
    well thats pretty shallow..
    what if i was having a bad hair day and pulled on a hat to hide it?? will disney want to fire me too?
    she worked for them for 2 years, clearly shes a good employee, so why now, when she has fabric on her head, do they decide shes not good enough?? snow white wears a headband, thats a piece of cloth on her head.. whats the big difference?? just cuz she doesnt want the world to see her hair? WHO THE HELL CARES?! i mean, its JUST hair..
    what if someone had cancer and lost all their hair , and they dont want ppl to see it, so they hide it. SO WHAT??
    honestly this is all so dumb..
    why shud they care.. i mean just cuz u cant see someones hair, it doesnt mean that they are a different person..

    August 24, 2010 at 4:32 am |
    • TruthSeeker

      Fatmeh, Defender of free speech. Let's just pretend that you say to your fellow muslims that you leaving Islam. Can you survive for a week? I think so NOT. Can you openly declare it in your mosque or with friends? Don’t defend what you cannot follow.

      August 24, 2010 at 9:38 am |
    • gillyzmama

      @ Fatmeh- you say "
      what happened to FREE COUNTRY?
      disney doesnt want her to work just cuz of a piece of cloth on her head? really??
      well thats pretty shallow..
      what if i was having a bad hair day and pulled on a hat to hide it?? will disney want to fire me too?
      she worked for them for 2 years, clearly shes a good employee, so why now, when she has fabric on her head, do they decide shes not good enough?? snow white wears a headband, thats a piece of cloth on her head.. whats the big difference?? just cuz she doesnt want the world to see her hair? WHO THE HELL CARES?! i mean, its JUST hair..
      what if someone had cancer and lost all their hair , and they dont want ppl to see it, so they hide it. SO WHAT??
      honestly this is all so dumb..
      why shud they care.. i mean just cuz u cant see someones hair, it doesnt mean that they are a different person..

      First of all, you are right, this is a FREE COUNTRY. Which means that an employer has the right to require a dress code. This is NOT a case of religious discrimination as she claims, because NO OTHER employee is allowed to display or wear clothing, jewelry, pins, what have you advertising their religion, while working in an ONSTAGE position. At Disneyland, EVERY AREA that is accessible by "guests" is ONSTAGE, and ALL castmembers working in onstage areas wear a themed costume.

      Disney has not "fired" her- they have continuously offered alternatives so that she can keep working, while trying to come to an agreement that is acceptable by both parties. Does that sound "shallow"?
      She signed paperwork when hired stating that she would comply with the dress code in her area. Now, 2 years later, she has decided she doesn't want to. Alternatives offered by Disney have included making a special themed head covering that will respect her religion, yet also fit in with her location, working in the backstage area of her restaurant until they can come to an agreement, and also working in a backstage position. She has refused ALL of them. She is actually breaching the contract she signed with Disney 2 years ago, yet she has not been fired.

      Clearly, this is a case that should be thrown out of court as there is no discrimination, there is prior adherence to a company's dress code for 2 years by the plaintiff, there have been numerous alternatives offered by the employer trying to come to an acceptable compromise, and the plaintiff is refusing all.

      Bottom line- she's looking for a payoff

      August 24, 2010 at 10:57 am |
    • TammyB

      She worked for 2 years NOT wearing the hijab...clearly she's not that dedicated to wearing it, or she wouldn't have taken the job in the first place, because her convictions to her religion would have prevented her from doing so. I really feel that she is doing this now to get some money, or prove a silly point, which is that she can push a big company around. The point is NOT if you or I agree with the dress code, the point IS that she agree to it and is now trying to get around it for whatever reason.

      August 24, 2010 at 1:14 pm |
    • tigerchuong

      Look at all your stupid comments, make me laugh...LOL. Company has dress codes. If you work for the company and don't like to complice to its policy, you should quit and find another job. I think this woman wants money and fame. That's all. I don't work for Disney, but my company has a dress code that not wearing hat. Therefore, if you are wearing hat, you should stay home. If you have cancer, stay home or go to hospital, don't come to work. Simple. Don't like it, find you another job.

      August 24, 2010 at 3:54 pm |
    • tigerchuong

      I think Disney should fire her a$$. There are million people who has no job now. Disney could easily find another person in a heart beat.

      August 24, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  3. castmember

    As a Disney Cast Member, there is NO WAY she will win this. I know of a muslim women who works in the HR office. Prior to this position she was working an "on stage" job, which means she is seen by, and interacts with guests. She decided she wanted to wear the head covering, and was then transferred per her request to a "back stage" job.

    This women has refused a transfer, and wants to break the dress code. Looks like the next place she wears her head scarf will be CA's unemployment line.

    August 24, 2010 at 4:03 am |
    • Renee

      I agree, Castmember. According to USA Today, DIsney offered this woman 4 other jobs which would allow her to wear her hijab. She refused them all even though it was with the same pay. One was in the bakery, and three jobs that were telephone based.

      August 29, 2010 at 10:06 am |
  4. Pro

    Usually, women from poorly educated families wear hijab or burqua. Late prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhotto, educated in London did not wear hijab or burqua. Koran stipulates modest dressing , which can be accomlished in many ways. Hijab and Burqua are Arabic dress used in desert. It is unnecessary for many other climates. She should move to an Islamic country.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:37 am |
    • Fatmeh

      umm..
      ur saying that because ur wearing a piece of cloth on ur head that means ur uneducated?
      well fyi,, i know MANY women wearing the hijab, niqab, and burqa that are doctors, denitsts, surgeons, lawyers, etc.. and they are from the US and Canada..
      so really.. a piece of cloth on ur head wont suddenly make ur brain shrink..

      August 24, 2010 at 4:35 am |
    • Fatmeh

      one other thing,
      quran doesnt just say modest dressing, it says to wear hijab, and a loose dress which doesnt attract attention,, and thats the bare MINIMUM according to islamic scholars.
      some other scholars say that muslim woman shud wear the niqab (burqa) as well
      dont beleive me? search it on islamqa.com they show you it straight form the quran

      August 24, 2010 at 4:55 am |
    • Copper

      Tell me, Fatmeh – do you wear the hijab or niqab so that only one eye is visible – the minimum amount to be able to see? After all, that is one of the instructions given by Islamic leaders.

      You probably wouldn't believe that the head covering should not be compulsory in Islam because the veil predates the revelation of the Qur'an. Head-covering was introduced into Arabia long before Muhammad, primarily through Arab contacts with Syria and Iran, where the hijab was a sign of social status. After all, only a woman who need not work in the fields could afford to remain secluded and veiled.

      The term hijab or veil is not used in the Qur'an to refer to an article of clothing for women or men, rather it refers to a spatial curtain that divides or provides privacy. The Qur'an instructs the male believers (Muslims) to talk to wives of Prophet Muhammad behind a hijab. This hijab was the responsibility of the men and not the wives of Prophet Muhammad. However, in later Muslim societies this instruction, specific to the wives of Prophet Muhammad, was generalized, leading to the segregation of the Muslim men and women.

      Nowhere in the whole of the Qur'an is the term hijab applied to any woman other than the wives of Muhammad. The stipulations of the hijab were originally meant only for Muhammad's wives, and were intended to maintain their inviolability. This was because Muhammad conducted all religious and civic affairs in the mosque adjacent to his home.

      August 24, 2010 at 1:53 pm |
  5. Robert

    What Disney SHOULD HAVE DONE is to have allowed the scarf and even encouraged her to wear it, but also implement a new uniform code for all in her department.. including a bright blue and hot pink striped, garish looking copter-cap, one designed intentionally to make the scarf look silly. If the woman refused, Disney could then have fired her for refusing to wear the uniform per company policy. Upon her departure the policy could then be rescinded as an unfortunate clerical error. If she tried to get her job back, her position has already been filled but thank you for applying and have a nice day 'Click'.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:29 am |
  6. Robert

    The woman cannot wear religious paraphernalia to the workplace, in the same way a Christian cannot wear a crown of thorns nor a T-shirt with a crucifix on it. It is inappropriate. The law protects against hiring, it does not afford one the luxury to practice on the employer's time or dime. There is established precedent in the courts for not allowing this, she has no case.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:19 am |
    • Fatmeh

      like i said..
      its simply a peice of cloth on her head..
      it wont change the way she works.. just simply the way she looks
      doesnt disney teach us that looks arent everything? what ever happened to beauty and the beast?

      August 24, 2010 at 4:56 am |
    • I don't get it...

      @Fatmah That seems to be the point, though. It's not about work performance in this case. It's about appearance. That piece of cloth is not just a piece of cloth. It is an open religious symbol. Wearing the hijab is a a religious statement, just like wearing a cross or star of david is. It doesn't matter whether or not she does her work the same way, whether she's the same person with or without it. The point is that Disney has a clear policy that she agreed to and worked under for two years. The policy hasn't changed, and it's not discriminatory, as no one is allowed religious imagery at all. If she doesn't want to abide by the rules, she needs to find another job.

      August 24, 2010 at 11:34 am |
    • TammyB

      @ Fatmeh...I have several tattoos, not of religious symbols or anything, but just various tattoos. When I took the job I have now, the dress code/code of conduct said that this company is conservative and does not like tattoos or facial piercings. Now, it doesn't effect the way that I work having a tattoo, or facial piercings, however, I signed the agreement, and I cover up the tattoos, because it is a private company's right to have a dress code. Now, 2 years later, I'm not gonna sue my company to make them let me show my tattoos. I agreed with the dress code. It's my choice that I have tattoos and will continue to get them. It's my company's choice that I not show them, I agreed with them, and that's it.

      August 24, 2010 at 1:06 pm |
    • Peggiesue

      please folks, get off the religious thing. wearing the HIJAB IS NOT A RELIGIOUS REQUIREMENT. IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION. it is a cultural choice. a sign of modesty. that's it. but, it is against the dress code. she needs to find another job, if she cannot comply. Disney does not need to comply. Period.

      August 24, 2010 at 1:39 pm |
  7. Mom of Three

    Go for it, Lady. Disney has more money and lawyers than your Allah. I hope they put their full team up against your ridiculous charges. It's the Happiest Place on Earth, not the most Chauvinistic and Backward.

    August 24, 2010 at 3:18 am |
  8. snobuny

    Thank you, Petra. Its cartoon land for kids. Don't force religion down their throats.

    August 24, 2010 at 12:48 am |
  9. Petra Meyer

    People don't go to Disneyland to be confronted with religious symbols. They go there to see smiling faces, pretty colors, and characters from story books. Disneyland is not the place to force your religious on other people.

    August 24, 2010 at 12:44 am |
    • Fatmeh

      just because theres fabric on her head, doesnt mean shes forcing it on others...
      what if it wer a nun? ppl will look up to her with respect wudnt they?

      August 24, 2010 at 4:37 am |
    • Well

      Nuns would not be able to wear their habits if they worked at Disney.

      August 24, 2010 at 11:36 am |
  10. snobuny

    This is a slap in the face to our society. I cannot believe that it is in the news...and she can sue Disney. She was an employee for a little over a year, and now she wants to stand for her religious rights to wear this hijab. I had put a Jewish mezuzah (which is affixed to the doorframe) to my office at a state job that I have worked for over 14 years and asked to take it down within 24 hrs. I was upset, but took it down. My office is not in the public, nor was it where anyone would see it (except my boss). To think that this woman, can work at her job for a little over a year, try to wear this hijab, have her supervisors and/or manager ask her not too, and she takes this information to CNN. Now this information is world-wide with her suing Disney? This is a disgrace to the US and our society as a whole. She knows what she is doing with this law suit and it is wrong. I will be ashamed of our country if she wins in court.

    August 24, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • Jonah B

      Let's be clear here – this woman wasn't working as a costumed character, but that's what Disney seems to want people to think when it says "all its employees are characters in a cast" – she was doing some kind of receptionist/greeter kind of job. Meaning – wearing a hijab in no way physically impedes her from doing her job.

      Frankly, as a Jew, I'm fully confident that the reaction in the comments section would be completely different if this was a case of Disney firing a Jew for wearing a yarmulke, or a Christian for wearing a cross.

      Imagine that – Disney would essentially be saying: "we have an image to uphold, and if looks like you're Jewish than you're ruining our image"

      The fact of the matter is if a religious article doesn't inhibit a worker to do their job properly, than the employer has no right to say they can't wear it, according to the constitution.

      It's quite sad that apparently a Canadian like myself knows your own constitutional laws better than most of you.

      August 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm |
  11. dondie

    this women is a idiot. when you get a job, there is almost always a dress code. its time for this fart to take off her little scarf!

    August 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
    • Fatmeh

      what happened to free country?

      August 24, 2010 at 4:38 am |
    • TammyB

      @ Fatmeh....This is a free country. Private companies are allowed to have dress codes and people are allowed NOT to take the job if they disagree with that particular dress code. She agreed with it when she took the job. If she doesn't like it now, then she should quit. She's free to do so and get a job where her cultural choices are allowed.

      August 24, 2010 at 1:00 pm |
  12. JC

    She should go home if she can't follow our rules. If we did that in their country they'd chop us up and send us home in a box.

    August 23, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
    • snobuny

      Hi, JC. It would be more like stoned to death. This is a disgrace to read in CNN!

      August 24, 2010 at 1:03 am |
  13. V

    Could she provide a more inarticulate defense for why she is wearing the headscarf?
    If they give her an accommodation to wear the scarf, where does it end?
    Since wearing "the scarf" as she puts it is a requirement, then why do many other Muslim women say it is a choice? It either is or it isn't. You can't change the rules to suit the occasion.

    August 23, 2010 at 11:08 pm |
  14. Roland

    Disney's not being creative here: With that hideous garb, she'd be a natural at one of the scarier shows ( Think "Mummy" or "Pirates of the Caribbean"

    August 23, 2010 at 11:00 pm |
    • Mom of Three

      Put her in the Haunted Mansion!!!!

      August 24, 2010 at 3:20 am |
  15. nuser

    Where is she getting the money for a law suit? Is it one of those deals where the lawyer gets a percentage of what she rakes in? Is that defiance and arrogance I see in that face? Hmm!

    August 23, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  16. nuser

    She is looking for trouble , attention and money. She worked there two years and then came up with this scheme to
    defraud Disney. Gimme a break. Go back to where you came from , we don't need the likes of you.

    August 23, 2010 at 10:43 pm |
  17. cassie

    You will not win that court case. The court has decided that if there is a legitimate reason for an employer to require a certain kind of dress such as, for example, requiring people to wear a hair net in a kitchen to keep the hair out of the food, they may then require it. Especially since you were not wearing it when you first took the job and only want to start now. Nothing stopping you from wearing it to and from work. Perhaps it is not in keeping with the fantasy land of Disney? They do try to create an illusion there and your dress will not fit in with that illusion.

    August 23, 2010 at 9:21 pm |
    • Fatmeh

      why doesnt it fit the illusion? because her hair doesnt show??
      well what if she went bald?? then what? will they tell her shes not good enough?

      August 24, 2010 at 4:39 am |
  18. Go back to "your" country.

    Disney have a dress code just like the majority of the companies and organizations in the world. You signed the contract. For two years you didn't wear a potato sack on your head.
    Now you want.

    Why is it that you ALL OF A SUDDEN decided to wear it after two years? Let me guess, you are playing a game with US, waiting to get a free ride to the citizenship day and then turn your back? You are religious? You are nothing if for two years you were playing a low key.
    You should be thankful for having a job nowadays, you piece of shit, you piss me off.

    Go back to Chad. IDIOTIC WOMAN and tell your friends to work in the farm.

    August 23, 2010 at 8:36 pm |
  19. Joe

    Simply looking to draw attention to herself! Hey people job opening at Disney!

    August 23, 2010 at 8:27 pm |
  20. privatebusiness

    wondering if she saw dress at HOOters :-), after suing Disney she may apply there...

    August 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.