Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Criticism of Religious Scholarship Is Not Religious Discrimination

Hascall v. Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit, (WD PA, June 28, 2016), is a suit by a Duquesne University Law School faculty member, Susan Hascall, who was denied tenure. A Pennsylvania federal district court refused to dismiss her charges of gender discrimination and retaliation. However it did, among others, dismiss her religious discrimination claim, holding that:
Plaintiff's attempts to rely on her scholarship of Islamic law as a sincerely held religious belief are misplaced.... Scholarship in Islamic and Sharia law does not, on its own, create a sincerely held religious belief. Plaintiff has pointed to no evidence that she herself practices Islam as a religion. Indeed, Plaintiff states in her Amended Complaint that she has not converted to Islam.... Without a sincerely held belief in Islam, Plaintiff cannot establish a claim for religious discrimination.... Plaintiff may very well have been subject to ridicule and derision from her colleagues due to the subject matter of her choice of scholarship; however, such conduct is not prohibited by law.
Legal Intelligencer reports on the decision.