FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Community Organizations Expresses Support for Muslim Journalist Denied Right to Wear Hijab
(Washington, D.C., 6/25/2020) – The American Halal Council and the undersigning organizations express support for Raeda Hamra, a Muslim journalist who has filed a lawsuit against the Middle East Broadcast Network (MBN), alleging that the network violated her civil rights when it denied her job promotions because of her hijab, a religious headscarf worn by Muslim women.
In a complaint filed by Hamra’s attorneys, J. Madison PLC outlines measures taken by the network’s administration to deliberately deny her the opportunity to apply for an on-screen position with the network. Despite her qualifications and experience, she was encouraged to stay in her role as a radio host because the hijab “could be a problem for MBN’s image,” said one senior assignment editor.
In April 2018, a reshuffle at the network created new openings and opportunities for the staff, and Hamra hoped to apply for a position herself. Hamra has a Master of Science in New Media, two years of experience as the head of a Jordanian satellite channel’s investigative unit, and while at Radio SAWA, appeared as an on-screen talent for multiple social media videos, including one that garnered over 3 million views. Despite her qualifications and skills coworkers told her repeatedly that “MBN would not allow a woman wearing a hijab on-camera.”
Hamra approached then senior vice president Nart Bouran who she alleges repeatedly lied to her about the existence of an open anchor position. For three months she watched her coworkers audition for the position in the studio next to her desk, while her attempts to apply were ignored. She was labeled as a troublemaker and warned by an executive producer that the “administrative employees would think she was a ‘terrorist’ because of her hijab, and they would fear that she would blow up an explosive, again, because of her hijab.”
Hamra is demanding relief for discrimination by MBN, including a review of the network’s hiring and promotion policies.
The undersigning organizations call on MBN to offer fair job opportunities to Mrs. Hamra and other Muslim employees. We also call on the network to take immediate corrective measures regarding misconduct by employees and executives and put in place procedures to protect and educate employees of the right to be free of religious discrimination in the workplace.
The Middle East Broadcast Network is sponsored by a grant through the U.S. Agency of Global Media. The Arabic language news network broadcasts news across the Middle East and North Africa. It comprises of two television channels Al-Hurra and Al-Hurra Iraq, Radio SAWA, and multiple digital assets.
The American Halal Council is a nonprofit organization that aims to promote and protect halal lifestyle in the United States, including halal attire. Our aim is to educate, promote and advocate for halal lifestyle, products and services in the United States.
American Halal Council
ICNA Council for Social Justice
Muslim Legal Fund of America
Arab American Civic Council
Raeda’s Fight for Justice for Muslim Women
Stand with me to stop Middle East Broadcasting Networks’ discrimination against hijab-wearing Muslim women!
You can support Ms. Hamra’s case on this Launchgood campaign link https://www.launchgood.com/project/raedas_fight_for_justice_for_muslim_women#!/