Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Suit Alleges Religious Discrimination In Flag Mix-Up

ACLU of Kansas announced yesterday that it has filed a religious and ethnic discrimination lawsuit on behalf of an employee of Spirit AeroSystems against a recreational organization open to Spirit employees.  The organization owns a recreational lake in Wichita, Kansas that can be rented by the organization's members. The complaint (full text) in Zanial v. Spirit Boeing Employees' Association, (D KA, filed 3/19/2018) alleges:
11. On September 2, 2017, Mr. Zanial rented space at the SBEA recreation lake to host a party celebrating the end of Ramadan. The party was attended by approximately 45 guests, the majority of whom were of Malaysian Indian ancestry. Several of Plaintiff’s female guests, including his wife, were wearing hijabs. 
12. Because the party took place shortly after the 60th Anniversary of Malaysian Independence Day, Mr. Zanial’s guest, Nik Azri brought a Malaysian flag to the party. Mr. Zanial and his guests took turns posing with the flag.
This led to a complaint being filed:
Following the party, SBEA reported Mr. Zanial to the Spirit Aerosystems (“Spirit”) security team based on a concern that Mr. Zanial was affiliated with radical Islamic terrorism and alleged that he had used the SBEA lake to hold an ISIS meeting. SBEA alleged that Mr. Zanial and his guests had an American flag that had been “desecrated by ISIS insignia” and were wearing “Muslim garb.” SBEA restricted Mr. Zanial’s membership so he could no longer rent property to host events at the lake.