The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) is being sued for religious discrimination. On Monday, Safiya Ghori-Ahmad's case against the USCIRF took another step closer to trial. It is now in the hands of a federal judge to decide whether to dismiss some of Ghori-Ahmad's complaint or allow the entire religious discrimination case to go to trial.
Ghori-Ahmad's case against the USCIRF goes back to 2009, but it literally took an act of Congress for it to become a federal lawsuit. Congress created the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in 1998 as a watchdog to investigate violations of religious liberty worldwide. But before last December, the USCIRF remained exempt from civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination based on religion. According to a lawsuit filed in June, the commission had a history of discrimination against Muslims, including retracting an employment offer to a researcher because of her Muslim faith and her work with a Muslim organization.
Safiya Ghori-Ahmad's Complaint
According to the lawsuit, Safiya Ghori-Ahmad applied for a position as a South Asia policy analyst at USCIRF. Ghori-Ahmad was one of 300 applicants for the position, and she was unanimously recommended for the job and approved by the executive director. Ghori-Ahmad earned a masters degree in international development and a law degree; has native-speaker proficiency in Urdi and Hindi and is proficient in Arabic (she was born in the U.S.); and worked on religious issues for the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).
Ghori-Ahmad says in her complaint that she was warned by some members of the staff that her "background" would be controversial for a couple of the commissioners. ...1
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