Obama DOJ sues Philly school district over length of Muslim employee’s beard

Obama DOJ sues Philly school district over length of Muslim employee’s beard

The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the School District of Philadelphia, claiming a rule regulating the length of employees’ beards constitutes religious discrimination.

According to the suit filed Wednesday, the district in October 2010 instituted a new grooming policy preventing school police officers and security guards from having beards longer than a quarter of an inch.

School police officer Siddiq Abu-Bakr maintained an untrimmed beard for the 27 years he worked at the district, the suit states. Abu-Bakr is a member of the Islamic faith, which he says requires that he not cut his beard.

When Abu-Bakr notified his supervisor his religious beliefs precluded him from complying with the new policy, he was allegedly issued a written reprimand cautioning that continued violation of the rule would result in “further disciplinary action.”

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