Civil Rights Updates

Following are descriptions of some of our current legal cases:

CAIR-Philadelphia successfully represented a woman who wanted to wear an ankle-length skirt as part of her uniform as an employee of the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA). Initially, the PPA refused to accommodate her request. CAIR-Philadelphia intervened and sent a demand letter to the PPA, informing them that they were in violation of federal and state law by not accommodating her religious request. The PPA responded by providing the employee with a tailor-made ankle-length skirt. We are happy to report that she is now wearing the skirt as part of her uniform.

CAIR-Philadelphia secured an employee’s right to wear her hijab at the workplace. A teenage employee chose not to wear her hijab for an initial interview for fear of discrimination and harassment. After a few months at work, she built up the courage to wear her hijab to work. Unfortunately, her boss told her that she cannot wear her hijab to work because she was not hired while wearing it. The employee’s parents contacted CAIR-Philadelphia and we sent an accommodation letter to Chuck E. Cheese. Within two days the teenage employee was permitted to wear her hijab at work. We applaud the teenager for her courage of not only wearing her hijab, but also reporting this blatant discrimination to CAIR-Philadelphia.

CAIR-Philadelphia filed a Writ of Mandamus in federal court against the United States government on behalf of a Syrian national whose green card application has been pending for more than eighteen months. By the government’s own account, a green card application should be processed within four months of receipt. Here, Ahmed Kurdi applied for a green card in February 2014, yet the government has failed to adjudicate his application. Mr. Ahmed has availed himself of every administrative remedy possible, yet his application still lingers. CAIR-Philadelphia was made aware of this situation and decided to take action. We are now asking a federal judge to force the government to adjudicate Mr. Ahmed’s green card application.

CAIR-Philadelphia, along with the law firm Storzer & Greene, sued Bensalem Township for denying a Masjid permission to build a mosque within the city limits. Last week, a federal Judge ruled that all but two of the Masjid’s claims can proceed in court. The Court rejected virtually all of the Defendants’ arguments, agreeing with the Masjid that the Township potentially violated both federal and state law. This was a very favorable ruling for the Masjid. CAIR-Philadelphia will continue to fight for equal rights for Muslims in Bensalem Township.

As you can see from the above cases, CAIR continues, with your support, to play an invaluable role in providing legal services to members of the Muslim community.

Ryan Houldin
Civil Rights Attorney, CAIR-Philadelphia
267.515.6712 |