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Disneyland Accused of Anti-Muslim Discrimination: Female Worker's Head Scarf Focus of Complaint

Cinderella's Castle at Disneyland over flag and map of China AP/CBS

(AP)
ANAHEIM, Calif. (CBS/AP) A Muslim woman who works as a hostess at a Disneyland restaurant is in the center of a "hijab hubbub," after alleging the theme park would not let her do her job while wearing her traditional head scarf.

Imane Boudlal said when she wore the hijab to work for the first time Sunday, her supervisors told her to remove it, work where customers couldn't see her, or go home.

Boudlal, who wore the scarf in observance of Ramadan, chose to go home, but reported to work for the next two days and was told the same thing.

Boudlal, who's 26, appeared outside Disneyland's Grand Californian Hotel after filing a complaint Wednesday with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

"Miss Boudlal has effectively understood that they're not interested in accommodating her request either in timing or good faith," said Ameena Qazi, an attorney from the Council on American-Islamic Relations who is consulting with Boudlal.

Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown said Disney has a policy not to discriminate. The resort offered Boudlal a chance to work with the head covering away from customers while Disneyland tries to find a compromise that would allow Boudlal to cover her head in a way that fits with her hostess uniform, Brown said.

Boudlal has worked at the Storyteller restaurant at the hotel for 2½ years but only realized she could wear her hijab to work after studying for her U.S. citizenship exam in June, Qazi said.

She asked her supervisors if she could wear the scarf and was told they would consult with the corporate office, Qazi said. Boudlal didn't hear anything for two months and was then told she could wear a head scarf, but it had to be designed by Disneyland's costume department to comply with the Disney look, Qazi said.

She was fitted for a Disney-supplied head scarf but was not given a date when the garment would be finished and was told she couldn't wear her own hijab in the interim.

"After these two months and this complicated process, she decided to come forward," Qazi said. "She really wanted to be able to wear it on Ramadan."

  • Barry Leibowitz

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