Muslim Man's Discrimination Complaint Moves to Trial

(CHICAGO, 10/01/09)– CAIR-Chicago announced today that a federal district court judge has denied a defendant’s request to bar an employment discrimination case from going to trial. The case will now move toward trial.

CAIR-Chicago filed the discrimination complaint in federal court last year on behalf of Khaled Karim. Karim was an employee of H & M Transportation, Inc. The complaint alleges that Karim was subjected to a hostile work environment by his direct supervisor on the basis of his race, national origin and religion, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

Throughout his employment, Karim’s superiors would call him “terrorist,” “sand ni***r” and “camel jockey,” and other employees referred to him as a “camel jockey” on several occasions. Karim also alleges that his co-workers would taunt him for refusing to eat pork, and posted a picture of Osama bin Laden in the cafeteria and would point to the picture and call Karim a “terrorist.”

Karim complained to superiors about his mistreatment, but no corrective action was taken, and in fact one supervisor wrote “cry baby” on an envelope containing Karim’s paycheck. Karim was eventually terminated from his job.

“As the only Muslim and Middle Eastern employee at the facility where he worked, Mr. Karim was labeled a terrorist by his supervisor and ultimately terminated based on false accusations from the supervisor. Such work conditions are reprehensible and violate our civil rights laws,” said CAIR-Chicago staff attorney Kevin Vodak.

The opinion issued by Judge Dow noted, “There can be little question that, as a court in this district recently concluded, referring to a Muslim of Middle Eastern origin and Arab ancestry as a ‘terrorist’ or ‘bin Laden’ is ‘discriminatory, insulting and humiliating.’” Judge Dow was referring to the recent decision in Yasin v. Cook County Sherriff’s Dept., which was also litigated successfully by CAIR-Chicago. (Cook County is the second most populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County and an estimated 400,000 Muslims reside in the Chicago Metropolitan area.)

CAIR-Chicago is a chapter of America’s largest Muslim civil rights group, which has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

– END –

CONTACT: Amina Sharif, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, 312.212.1520 or 630.935.5562; E-Mail:, Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, 202.870.0166; E-Mail:, and Christina Abraham, Civil Rights Director, CAIR-Chicago, 312.212.1520; E-Mail: