Christian Jordan woman sues employer over head covering

A christian Jordanian woman said Sunday she is suing her Gulf Arab employer for arbitrary dismissal after she refused a new dress code forcing her to cover her head.

Written by Associated Press | Amman | Published:May 28, 2012 1:43 am

A christian Jordanian woman said Sunday she is suing her Gulf Arab employer for arbitrary dismissal after she refused a new dress code forcing her to cover her head.

The incident is rare and could stir religious tensions in Jordan,a predominantly conservative Muslim nation whose Western-educated ruler,King Abdullah II,is perceived as a staunch supporter of moderate Islam and tolerance of other religions.

“We are not in Iran,we are in Jordan,and we must continue to enjoy personal and religious freedoms as stipulated by our constitution,’’ said Vivian Salameh,45,an assistant manager of corporate operations at the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank since March 2010 until she was fired a week ago. “I’m Christian. Why should I wear something not dictated by my religion?’’ she said.

Bank spokeswoman Eman Affaneh confirmed that Salameh was fired because “she refused to comply with the terms of her contract,which stipulates that all employees must respect management regulations and bank bylaws.’’ “We are an Islamic establishment and the dress code is a reflection of our conservative Muslim traditions.’’

Salameh says she worked for Jordan’s Industrial Development Bank for 25 years until it was acquired in 2010 by the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank. In January 2011,the new management issued a regulation stipulating a dress code for its workers,including waist-to-heel skirts and head covers for women.

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