How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Q&A: Disney intern Noor Abdallah on hijab and work

Photo courtesy of CAIR-LA

Noor Abdallah in her Disney uniform

The Muslim intern who fought Disney over her hijab, and won, is a second-generation University of Illinois senior, a psychology major and a native of the Chicago suburbs who “grew up on Disney movies.”

Noor Abdallah, 22, took the company to task this summer after arriving in Anaheim to begin an internship as a vacation planner. Upon arriving, she was informed that because she wears the traditional Islamic head scarf, known as hijab, she must take a job with less guest interaction. She was offered a stockroom job while a customized uniform was made, a wait that would take about five months.

Abdallah sought assistance from the Council on American-Islamic Relations after learning about Iman Boudial, a Moroccan immigrant and Disney worker who filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the company last month on similar grounds. Disney relented, allowing Abdallah to work in the vacation planner job. She has been working in hijab since earlier this month, wearing a blue head scarf with a beret-style hat.

Read More...

A Disney intern's uniform, with hijab

Photo courtesy of CAIR-LA

Noor Abdallah in her Disney uniform

A Disney intern who did battle with the company over her traditional Islamic religious head scarf, known as hijab, is at work in the job she was hired to do, and in a uniform adapted for her.

Noor Abdallah, 22, sought legal help after arriving from Illinois to begin work at the Anaheim resort. She had interviewed by phone for an internship as a Disney vacation planner, but upon arriving in California, she was informed that because of her hijab, she would instead have to take a stockroom job while a customized uniform was made.

Upon learning that she would have to wait five months for a custom uniform - the length of her internship - Abdallah sought assistance from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Islamic civil liberties group with an office in Los Angeles. Within a week, Disney relented, allowing her to work in the vacation planner job with a uniform that includes a blue head scarf with a beret-style hat over it.

Read More...

Disney employee allowed to wear hijab, may set precedent for others

Photo by TK/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Two women in hijab at a Southern California picnic, June 2008

A decision by Disney to allow a female Muslim intern to wear a traditional religious head scarf, or hijab, at work could set a precedent for other Disney employees who make an argument to wear the head scarves as part of their work uniform.

According to the greater Los Angeles office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Islamic civil liberties organization, the decision involved a young woman from the Chicago area who had interviewed by phone for an internship job as a Disney vacation planner in Anaheim.

In a press release today, CAIR-LA stated that when the unidentified intern arrived in California, she was informed by her new employer that she would have to take a different position with limited guest interaction, a stockroom job, while a customized uniform was created for her. The wait for a customized uniform was five months, according to CAIR-LA, the length of her internship.

Read More...

Quote of the moment: Loretta Sanchez vs. "Los Vietnameses"

“Los Vietnameses y los Republicanos están con una intensidad de quitar este puesto, este puesto que ya nosotros hemos hecho tanto para nuestra comunidad, quitarnos este puesto y darselo a este Van Tran, que es muy anti-inmigrante y muy anti-Hispano.”

- Democratic Rep. Loretta Sanchez, 47th Congressional District, during an interview on Univision Sept. 12


Translation, from an excerpt in both languages of Sanchez' statement in the Orange County Register:

“The Vietnamese and the Republicans are, with an intensity, (trying) to take this seat – this seat (from which) we have done so much for our community – to take this seat and give it to this Van Tran, who is very anti-immigrant and very anti-Hispanic.”

Understandably, Orange County and beyond is abuzz with what has become the political gaffe of the moment. Sanchez's comment, circulated by political bloggers in recent days, is especially notable coming from a Latina whose landmark defeat of incumbent Rep. Bob Dornan in 1996, a Republican, symbolized the county's ethnic shift away from its past as a mostly white conservative stronghold.

Read More...