Friday, April 13, 2007

hijabs in the hotel

i was taken aback by today's poll question on the indy star site: "Should Mayor Peterson encourage the management of the planned convention center hotel to allow Muslim women employees to wear traditional head coverings?"

so naturally i had to read the accompanying article:

A developer planning to build a Convention Center hotel in Downtown Indianapolis has come under fire from local Islamic advocates concerned that the company will discriminate against Muslim women here.

White Lodging Services Corp., one of the two developers of the proposed 1,000-room hotel, was recently sued in Kentucky for refusing to hire four Muslim women unless they worked without wearing a hijab, the traditional head covering for women mandated by Islamic religious teachings.

In the Louisville case, four Muslim women claimed they were denied jobs as housekeepers at a Marriott hotel because they wore a hijab.

sounds like a pretty straightforward EEOC violation to me: these women believe that god wants them to wear headscarves, so refusing to hire them because of the hijab would clearly be discrimination based on religion. i could almost understand the "dress code" argument (but not really) if these women wanted to work, say, at the front desk. but they wanted to be housekeepers. how could the hijab possibly interfere with their housekeeping work?

local muslim leaders are calling on mayor peterson to inform the developer, which is ironically called "White Lodgings", that such discriminatory crap will not be allowed in the new indy hotels. council members patrice abduallah (himself a muslim) and jackie nytes are already on board.

as i often do after reading discrimination stories in the star, i felt compelled to look at the article's talkback comments... and while i thought i knew what to expect, i was still stunned by what i found. the unmitigated hate, the constant blasphemy, the joking death threats, the accusations of terrorist... and this is moderated! this is just the stuff that slips through the star's filters. i can't even imagine what kind of comments got rejected.

i thought the LGBT talkback threads were ugly, but this... this is just appalling.

it's ironic that this article ran the same day—and in the same business section—as this:

"How does the old saying go? When you land in Indiana, set your watch back 20 years," said Jeff Smulyan, chairman and chief executive of Emmis Communications Corp., which owns radio stations around the world. "Hopefully, we can show we're more inclusive than people think."

Job recruiters and tourism officials see value in appearing inclusive, in touting diversity. They say Indiana's economic future depends on it.

They want to attract gays and lesbians, as well as women, blacks and Hispanics, as tourists and employees. But recruiters and tourism officials say they are fighting an uphill battle of negative perceptions.

1 comment:

Wilson46201 said...

I looked briefly at the Star Talkback thread on this issue and was aghast. Evil!

It does encourage me about the progress LGBT folk have made in comparison. Those threads are contentious and often delusional but becoming amazingly well-balanced and argued.

This anti-Muslim stuff is scary as all hell, There's a whole lot of violent hate out there!