Seattle Muslim fired for refusing to shave beard

Aug 4, 2011, 1:52 PM | Updated: Oct 10, 2012, 7:28 am
Abdulkadir Omar, 22, says he was fired for refusing to shave his beard because of his religion. Omar did not want his entire face shown. (97.3 KIRO FM/Brandi Kruse)
(97.3 KIRO FM/Brandi Kruse)

A Seattle man has filed a lawsuit against his former employer, saying he was fired for refusing to shave his beard because of his religion.

Abdulkadir Omar, 22, had worked as a security guard for American Patriot Security for around six months before he was told he needed to be clean-shaven.

“I told them that I cannot do that because that’s part of my religion practices that I have to follow,” said Omar, who practices the Islamic faith. “They told me that, ‘Well, we have to let you go.'”

Omar said he also had pay withheld for hours he had worked.

The Washington state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-WA) has spoken out on Omar’s behalf, saying his rights were violated.

“It is a clear violation of our nation’s civil rights laws for an employer to require an employee to give up his or her religious practices,” said Arsalan Bukhari, executive director of CAIR-WA.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already said that Omar was wrongfully terminated and has the right to sue.

Omar said he has found a new job since being let go, but says he’s still upset over the incident.

“I was shocked,” he said. “It’s a country of freedom. Everyone has the freedom to practice their religion whatever way they want.”

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Seattle Muslim fired for refusing to shave beard