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Not So Random Ramblings & Reflections

Monday, June 15, 2009


This is an article I had written during college about the amount of discrimination happening to people of Middle Eastern descent after the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers but what people don't realize is that those terrorist groups' training sessions and militia provisions were in actuality funded by the United States just a few decades before.


This was the first draft of my article but whatever. (I had dreams of becoming a journalist) :)


"Discrimination in the Workplace Post 9/11


By Denise Lee


SANTA BARBARA, CA –- Dateline Tag –- Since the September 11th attacks against the World Trade Center in New York, there has been a tremendous increase in workplace discrimination against people of Muslim, South Asian, Sikh, Arab or Middle Eastern descent. Due to these problems, a number of employee advocacy groups and organizations have been created in order to provide alleviation and a voice against adversity. Unfortunately, only a select few actually receive ample attention.


“At the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, about 980 charges alleging post-9/11 backlash discrimination have been filed through June 11 since the 2001 attacks. Most involved firing and alleged harassment; the EEOC specifically tracks ‘backlash’ cases, where employees claim discrimination relating to 9/11. Likewise, religious bias charges are higher today than before 9/11. From Sept. 11, 2001, through June 11, the EEOC received 2,168 charges of discrimination based on an employee's Muslim religion. That compares with 1,104 such charges in the same time span before the attacks.” (Post-9/11 workplace discrimination continues, USA TODAY, 7/05/2005).


The two most prominent anti-discrimination groups that were and still are working in favor for people of Muslim, Arab, Middle Eastern, Sikh, South Asian or Islam descent are the Anti-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Another organization called the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is also an advocacy group for the justice of 9/11 backlash discrimination.


In Phoenix, Arizona, the Arab American News reported that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) landed a legal victory against Alamo Car Rental Company, a post 9/11 backlash discrimination based on religion. The company had fired a Somali customer sales representative back in December of 2001 after, Bilan Nur, refused to remove her head scarf during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The case was settled voluntarily when the court decided that they did not need a jury to settle the absurd case. What is interesting is prior to the 9/11 attacks, Ms. Nur was never harassed for wearing her head scarf. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 states that employers are not allowed to discriminate employees on the basis of their religion in regards to hiring, firing and other terms and conditions of employment. Employers are required to accommodate to their employees’ strongly convicted religious beliefs unless it hinders the employers work objectives. The workplace must adjust to the changing work environment to allow the employee to practice his/her religion. Moreover, “The lawsuit seeks monetary relief, including back pay with prejudgment interest and compensatory and punitive damages. The Commission is also seeking an injunction prohibiting future discrimination and any other curative relief to prevent Alamo from engaging in any further discriminatory practices. The EEOC filed suit only after exhausting its conciliation efforts to reach voluntary pre-litigation settlements.” (, EEOC SUES ALAMO CAR RENTAL FOR RELIGIOUS BIAS).


Another major case of backlash discrimination was the Plaza Hotel case. In New York, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced a $525,000 lawsuit settlement against the Plaza Hotel also under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act for discrimination against a class of employees consisting of 12 Muslims, Arabs and South Asians. The discrimination was related to the events of September 11th. The employees’ claims consisted of working in a hostile environment and being called offensive names related to the terrorists of the 9/11 attacks. “The EEOC's lawsuit (Civil Action No.03 - CV- 7680), filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleged that the class of employees was subjected to a hostile work environment and to severe and pervasive harassment. Specifically, the EEOC charged that employees at the Plaza Hotel were called offensive and derogatory names related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks based on their Muslim religion and/or their Arab and South Asian national origins.” (, THE PLAZA HOTEL TO PAY $525,000 FOR POST-9/11 BACKLASH DISCRIMINATION AGAINST EMPLOYEES). The EEOC’s dedication in imposing anti-discrimination laws in the workplace gives hope to several employees across the nation.


On October 8, 2003, in Bethesda, MD, the Maryland office of the Council on America-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MD) called on American Muslims to give attention to the discrimination propelled by Bank of America. The company did not put in much effort in resolving a religious discrimination dispute with one of its female Muslim employees. “According to the employee, a co-worker circulated an offensive message on the Bank of America e-mail system. The e-mail claimed ‘Muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide’ because they have ‘no beer, no booze, rags for clothes, you can’t shave, your wife can’t shave, your bride is picked by someone else. She smells like your donkey, but your donkey has a better disposition.” (, Bank of America Worker Faces Religious Discrimination). In addition to this absurdity, Bank of America had the audacity to tell the employee to “ignore the e-mails and even lodged a complaint against her saying that she was trying to get her own co-worker terminated.” (, Bank of America Worker Faces Religious Discrimination). Therefore, to respond to such adversity the CAIR-MD stated:


1) Contact Bank of America to demand that they repudiate the bigoted views expressed in the e-mail and resolve this incident to the satisfaction of the Muslim employee. Request that they apologize to the Muslim employee, clarify their policies on religious discrimination in the workplace and institute sensitivity training for the company staff.

CONTACT: Mr. Ken Lewis, CEO of Bank of America at 704-386-5687 (FAX: 704-386-4578) or E-MAIL: COPY TO:

2) If you or anyone you know holds accounts at Bank of America, please contact CAIR-MD at or call 301-986-1900 (leave message).


Since the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center, there have been a severely alarming amount of hate crimes and discrimination against those who may remotely resemble the terrorists of the attacks. Despite all of these cases of discrimination there have been a number of attempts in solving this problem. In the midst of all this hysteria, there are chances for progression. The ADC has sought out to educate younger students in public schools and states that teachers should implement Arab cultural studies into their curriculum. “Teach students to appreciate the Arab world–one of the great cultures when Europe was still a backward, under-developed region on the periphery of world civilization. Study how the efflorescence of the European later Middle Ages and Renaissance was made possible in part through trade, cultural and scientific links to Arab-Islamic civilization. Celebrate the values found in the contemporary Arab world: family ties, hospitality, ethics and morality, community. There is poverty in Cairo, for example, but little street crime or violence. The streets are safer than in many U.S. cities.” (, Anti-Arab Discrimination: What Teachers Can Do).


The EEOC has a Five Point Plan in order to solve disputes accurately. Their Five Point Plan consists of Proactive Prevention, Proficient Resolution, Promote and Expand Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Strategic Enforcement and Litigation and EEOC as a Model Workplace. With Proactive Prevention, the EEOC tries its hardest to prevent discrimination before it starts with outreach activities, such as: teleconferences, technical assistance visits, flexible training opportunities, an enhanced Web site, information dissemination through public radio and television, cyber forums, and partnerships and strategic alliances to strengthen efforts and build support. In Proficient Resolution, the EEOC will regulate the private sector charge process and cooperatively work with other federal agencies to make the process more effective and efficient. In Promote and Expand Mediation/Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), the promotion of mediation is the main focus here while making the resolution cost-effective through ADR techniques. With Strategic Enforcement and Litigation, “We will examine emerging workplace trends and issues in both the private and federal sectors and use this information to make reasoned and calculated decisions about what issues merit our attention and how we can better integrate our policy guidance, investigative, litigation and federal coordination functions. In determining where the agency needs to concentrate its enforcement and litigation efforts, the EEOC will establish baseline information on investigation, litigation and federal sector activities; examine recent court decisions; consult with agency staff and stakeholders; evaluate the agency's outreach activities; and conduct annual reviews of economic indicators, demographic trends, employer practices, industry literature and legislative initiatives. Finally, we will continue to strengthen partnerships between EEOC investigators and attorneys and between the EEOC and other federal agencies.” (, EEOC'S FIVE-POINT PLAN). As the last of the Five Point Plant, the EEOC as a Model Workplace consists of the, “President's Management Agenda (PMA) provides the roadmap for the final point of the agency's Five-Point Plan. The President's agenda addresses important enhancements to internal agency operations and its interface with the public. The integration of our Five-Point Plan and other Administration and agency initiatives will help build a model workplace where we can effectively and efficiently accomplish our goals in an environment conducive to good employment practices.” (, EEOC'S FIVE-POINT PLAN).


Several steps are being taken to improve the quality of the work environment across the nation in order to help solve the problem of backlash discrimination. Although the resolution may not be immediate enough for some workers, however, there is some progress being made. Progression may take several years even decades but that should not be a discouraging factor. Sheer determination, dedication and a positive outlook on the future are all mindsets needed in order to achieve this goal. If we keep at it, these goals will be met. It would be selfish of us to give up just because we will not be able to see the change during our own lifetime because by doing that we will be taking away the very ideal life we are striving to have from our future generations. Let us keep fighting, looking ahead, and hope for the best because at least we will be getting somewhere.


Works Cited


• Post-9/11 workplace discrimination continues, USA TODAY, 7/05/2005


• EEOC SUES ALAMO CAR RENTAL FOR RELIGIOUS BIAS, Post-9/11 Backlash Suit Say Muslim Employee Prevented from Wearing Head Scarf, September 30, 2002, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,


• THE PLAZA HOTEL TO PAY $525,000 FOR POST-9/11 BACKLASH DISCRIMINATION AGAINST EMPLOYEES, EEOC Alleged Harassment Based on Muslim Religion and South Asian/Middle Eastern National Origin, June 8, 2005, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission,


• Bank of America Worker Faces Religious Discrimination,


• Anti-Arab Discrimination: What Teachers Can Do,



Posted by Denise at 9:38:00 AM 


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