Muslim family sues Illinois forest preserve, claiming anti-Muslim discrimination. A family of Muslims from Lyons, Illinois (near Chicago), is suing the Cook County Forest Preserve because they claim they were all discriminated against due to Muslim attire. Unsurprisingly, CAIR is involved in the lawsuit and filed two complaints on behalf of the family in Cook County Circuit Court. The lawsuits demand monetary compensation for what is alleged discrimination when a pool in Lyons refused the family entry because they were wearing inappropriate swimming attire. Though the prohibiting incident happened more than a year ago in August of 2009, CAIR is only now getting around to suing the aquatic center for what it says is anti-Muslim discrimination.
To me, this action by CAIR of filing lawsuits on behalf of the Muslim family smells fishy and retaliatory. As in, vengeful—and when I say vengeful, I mean without merit. For instance, CAIR is demanding monetary compensation to this family. That begs the question, Whatever for?! If they were apparently refused entry to the pool due to discrimination, how can you put a legitimate price tag on that? What was the so-called "monetary" damage to them being forced to go home again? The price of gas, perhaps, for one way of travel to the pool?!!
Mahmoud Yaqub says that he and his wife, the headscarf-clad Faten Alaraj, brought their two young kids to the Cermak Family Aquatic Center back in August of 2009. He further says that his wife was barred because of her Muslim attire of a long dress and a headscarf, which, by the way, are inappropriate swimming attire anyway. Additionally, he and the two kids were also turned away by pool employees because their own clothing’s material was allegedly inappropriate for swimming.
So far, that doesn’t really sound discriminatory based on anti-Muslim sentiment because it’s not really too much to demand that you’re dressed for swimming when, you know, you step into an aquatic center. According to Yaqub and CAIR, however, the discrimination enters into the picture because other people were always allowed to enter said aquatic center in non-swimming clothes with no problem. However, this claim—which I guess would form the basis for the anti-Muslim discrimination accusation—is only being put forth by Yaqub and CAIR! The aquatic center has never commented on this issue, so we’re only hearing one, biased side of the story, here. Yaqub and CAIR have a vested interest in framing the story this way because they’re claiming discrimination.
I wonder if people in normal clothing really are always let into said aquatic center on a regular basis. I guess I’ll have to travel there to check it out myself!
On an interesting note, back in October of this year, the Illinois Department of Human Rights ruled in favor of Yaqub and CAIR when they filed an earlier complaint of anti-Muslim discrimination. Again, however…no one knows whether or not this really was a legitimate case of anti-Muslim discrimination because the Cook County Forest Preserve never commented on the issue. You’re only hearing one, biased side of the story that’s coming from two Muslim parties.
In all likelihood, it could well have been that the county was too scared of being called "racist" and "bigoted" to defend themselves in this incident. Denying people entrance to a swimming center because they’re not dressed in swimming attire seems reasonable to me. The fact that the county and the Illinois Department of Human Rights crumbled so quickly to what, essentially, was just an accusation coming from a Muslim backed up by CAIR tells me they probably felt too scared to defend themselves. They probably feared the public relations nightmare that CAIR could have created for them by holding accusatory press conferences and rallies against the county.
Copyright © 2010 by Marc Schenker
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