Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Former Navy Instructor Sues Claiming Anti-Muslim Bias
CAIR has announced the filing last week of a religious discrimination lawsuit against the United States Navy on behalf of a former barracks instructor whose reenlistment was blocked. The complaint (full text) in Berts v. Mabus, (ED CA, filed 12/23/2014) alleges that the plaintiff Jonathan Berts, an African-American Muslim, was denied his request to wear a beard as a religious accommodation. For four years prior to making has religious accommodation request, Berts had worn a beard under a medical waiver. He alleges that after his religious accommodation request was denied, his commander refused to promote him, subjected him to questions about his beard, to racist and anti-religious jokes, and questioned his loyalty to the United States. He was removed from his teaching duties and assigned to watch duty in a roach-infested building guarding piles of old office equipment. Berts claims his treatment burdened his religious exercise in violation of RFRA and the Administrative Procedure Act and seeks a return to active duty along with an accommodation to allow him to grow a beard.