Saturday, June 23, 2007

CAIR demands apology

A Monterey school principal today cited employee rights as the reason why a public apology would not follow a lunchroom incident Tuesday when a supervisor demanded that a Muslim student remove her Islamic head scarf.

Seaside High School Principal Sydney Renwick agreed to a face-to-face apology for the 13-year-old student who said she was humiliated when a lunchroom supervisor demanded she remove her hijab in front of more than 100 students.

But Renwick said a request by the Bay Area chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations to have the lunchroom supervisor publicly apologize would be a violation of the employee's rights.

He cited the creation of a hostile work environment as one of those violations.

"The school understands that this is an emotional issue and that religious practice is central to this community's beliefs and value system," Renwick said. "But on the same token, we cannot violate this person's rights while we attempt to rectify the situation."

CAIR is requesting a public apology because the student was humiliated in public, according to CAIR spokeswoman Abiya Ahmed.

"A public apology is important not just for this girl, it would offer closure to the family," Ahmed said.

She said her group has offered to provide diversity training at the school to prevent what she called "ignorance" and "misunderstanding" within the community.

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