Last week, February 22, to be exact, a Muslim woman was blatantly fired from her job at Hollister for donning a scarf, hijab, on her head for religious reasons. Hollister, which is a store operated under the parent company of Abercrombie & Fitch, quite illegally fired Hani Khan from her part-time position as a stocker.
The district manager informed Khan that she did not fit the "look" that A & F projected and she would either have to take off her scarf or she would be taken off payroll. Khan contacted CAIR to pursue charges against the company and their policies, which quite clearly, on the internet state the opposite: "At Abercrombie & Fitch we are committed to increasing and leveraging the diversity of our associates and management across the organization. Those differences will be supported by a culture of inclusion, so that we better understand our customers, enhance our organizational effectiveness, capitalize on the talents of our workforce and represent the communities in which we do business."
Really now, how did Hani ever think she could represent herself through clothing of her personal choice? Isn't the "look" of A & F a simple projection of beauty, that which is dictated by society to influence innocent teenagers? This "beachy" look shows models, mainly Caucasian, dressed in form-fitting, hip-hugging, cleavage-showing clothes that Abercrombie sells. How could Hani think she could represent who she is, at A & F? Ah, the blasphemy!
The hijab is a symbol of modesty in Islam. It is a representation of a woman's beauty and how she should be respected for her personality and NOT her "look." Ironically, that is exactly what Khan was fired for-- having the audacity to THINK. Any woman who has the guts to walk around society without fitting the conventional norms of beauty, has the self-efficacy needed to know that it doesn't take all that to be appreciated. One doesn't need to wear a size smaller than usual to show your body off, one doesn't need to follow conventions laid out by men to "watch" women parade around, and really, one doesn't need to have "the look" to be respected.
What is disheartening is the fact that the company fails to comment, fails to apologize and fails to realize that it has perhaps lost (and will continue to lose) employees who add flavor to it's boiled egg of a meal!
We as a society need to value intelligence over appearance.