UPI: Family: Anti-Muslim bias at public pool

CHICAGO, Dec. 30 (UPI) — A manager of a public pool in Chicago allegedly wouldn’t let a Muslim family enter because of their clothing, a lawsuit seeking monetary compensation says.

The lawsuit, filed by the Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the Illinois Circuit Court of Cook County, alleges the manager discriminated against Mahmoud Yaqub and his family based on their attire.

Yaqub and wife, Faten Alaraj, brought their two young children to the county’s Cermak Family Aquatic Center in suburban, Lyons, Ill., in August 2009 when a manager allegedly stopped Alaraj because she was wearing a long dress and headscarf, lawyer Christina Abraham, the CAIR Chicago civil rights director, said.

After Alaraj agreed to leave, the manager denied entry to the father and children, saying the children’s swimming trunks were made of an inappropriate material for swimming, Abraham alleged.

The parents were not planning to swim, only to supervise their children, the lawsuit said. They had previously been admitted when not wearing swimsuits, the lawsuit alleges.

“A week later, I sent my sister to go to the water park,” Yaqub told WLS-TV, Chicago. “My sister doesn’t wear the Muslim veil on her head. She went in a running suit, or pajama. She wasn’t wearing swimming trunks. The same lady that denied us entry let my sister in with no problem.”

The Illinois Department of Human Rights has found evidence of discrimination in the case, CAIR said.

The lawsuit asks the court to force the county, whose forest preserve runs the pool, to take action. It also seeks monetary compensation for the family’s alleged humiliation.

County officials had no immediate comment.

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