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RELIGIOUS DISCRIMINATION IN FAIRFAX VIRGINIA? NO!
By Dori Joyner, M.A..
Early in August 2016, Fair Oaks Dental Care in Fairfax, Virginia hired a young woman, Ms. Najaf Khan, to work in their dental office. Ms. Khan had worn no religious clothing to her employment interview. Her first two days on the job, she continued to wear secular clothing. She was given positive feedback those first two days. The third day she arrived to the dental office wearing a hijab, an Islamic religious ‘headscarf’.
In an NBC Washington taped interview, Ms. Khan describes her version of the events that followed.
“I was devastated. The owner told me to take my hijab off and he gave me an ultimatum. I could continue to wear my headscarf and no longer work there. Or I could continue to work there without my headscarf. And when I said I would not compromise my religion for that, he held the door for me and I walked out.”
However, Dr. Chuck Joo, the dentist and office owner, states on the business websiteand Facebook page:
“Our office does not have any objections to hijabs. We only asked Ms. Khan to wear a separate, clean hijab (for office wear only) or wear a sanitary head cover over her hijab while seeing patients in the office, just like we require all employees to wear full scrubs and not street clothes in the office when treating patients. This dress code has applied to all dental assistants since 2003, when it was first implemented.
Ms. Khan did not find the dress code or the alternative we offered suitable and she then walked out on her own accord.
Ms. Khan was never terminated from our employ. In fact, we contacted her later in the evening on the same day she voluntarily walked out of the office and offered to continue her paid training program.
We had been inspired by Ms. Khan’s enthusiasm to become a dentist, and even though she had no experience working in dentistry, we provided her with a three month paid training opportunity in exchange for eventual full-time employment, something rare in the dental business. Ms. Khan elected not to respond.”
The truth, though, is that she was not fired. She was not terminated. She was not forced to choose between her religious attire and her job. She was not ‘shown the door’. And, when asked on camera if she would go back to work in the dental office, she replied, “Probably not. Not with somebody who is so close minded.”
Who is close minded here?
Certainly, not the dentist, who was nothing but generous toward Ms. Khan. Yet, she could see only discrimination. She was given every consideration to accommodate her religious practice within the bounds of maintaining a sanitary environment for patients, yet she chose to interpret the experience as religious discrimination and this is the story that has been splashed across multiple media sites. A sceptic might wonder if she intended to ‘cry discrimination’ from the get go, and that’s why she applied for the job, hijab-free, knowing she would don it later and if challenged would create a public outcry very much like the one she ended up creating.
But someone with faith in the goodness of all, might believe she is merely young and naïve enough to want to make a stand for her religion, even if that stand is based on half-truths and lies, and even if that stand hurt the very people of good will who had her best interests at heart.
Regardless of her motivation, though, she took her story to the media and it has been used publicly to defame the dental office. What’s especially sad is that these were the people who only wanted to help her advance her career and make her dreams of becoming a dentist come true.
Ms. Khan also contacted CAIR, http://www.cair.com/ (Council on American-Islamic Relations) with her complaint, and her misrepresentations of the truth are also repeated on their website, although with words such as ‘alleged’ and ‘reportedly’, perhaps to protect CAIR from libel when the truth of this event emerges, as it is now. On their website, they claim to have “served more than 25,000 victims of discrimination since ‘their’ founding.”
One wonders how many of those cases of ‘discrimination’ are similar to this one, made up of spurious claims.
More chilling, they state, “Our nation-wide offices receive a total of approximately 3,000 inquiries a year and work to resolve them through mediation, negotiation, public pressure, or if necessary, through legal action.
Public pressure… hmm… In this case, perhaps groundless public shaming and intimidation would be a more apt term?
CAIR is calling for Ms. Khan’s reinstatement (although she quit of her own accord). And, of course, they are also calling for financial compensation for her.
Racism certainly does exist. So does religious discrimination. And these bigoted views should be challenged whenever and wherever they occur. But in this case, the dentist and his office team do not deserve the appellations of racist, ‘islamaphobe’ or hate monger.
Even so, their names and business reputation have been smeared in these terms or with insinuation and innuendo, which amounts to the same thing. Unwarranted public defamation like this is a lose/lose proposition for us all.
Good, honest Muslims lose when their religion is used dishonestly by some to promote a nefarious political agenda.
Well-meaning individuals like this dentist lose when their livelihoods and community standing are unfairly threatened. And citizens around the globe lose when the few disturb the peace and good will of the many.
This is a sad and sorry state of affairs, these times we are living in.
We encourage readers to submit content regarding local events ignored or mis-characterized by the media.
In the linked article above, NBC News failed to alert readers that CAIR is:
- listed as a terrorist organization in the UAE
- an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror financing conviction in U.S. history
- banned by the FBI due to its HAMAS links
- deemed part of HAMAS by a U.S. federal judge
- being sued by Muslim Americans, and
- numerous of its executives having been jailed or deported for terrorist activities.
I took it upon myself to email this dentist's office to encourage them & let them know how I stood by them as I'm sure 99% of America does as well. That young lady was looking for trouble to begin with. If she truly had these strong stands for Allah, she would have came to the interview & her first days on the job with her hijab on to begin with. Why show up with it later & take such a strong stand & say it's her religious conviction? If her faith meant so much to her, she would have walked in those doors with her hijab. Was she ashamed of it? Did she already have in her mind that they wouldn't hire her if she wore it? Was this her goal the entire time?