Illinois: Muslim family claims bias at public pool

The Chicago office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed two complaints Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court claiming employees at a public pool discriminated against a Muslim family from Lyons based on their attire.

The family was barred from entering the Cermak Family Aquatic Center in Lyons, owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District, in 2009 because of their clothing, said attorney Christina Abraham, the organization’s civil rights director.

A manager stopped the mother because she was wearing a long dress and head scarf, Abraham said. After she agreed to leave, the manager denied entry to the father and children, saying their swimming trunks were made of the wrong material. “They were wearing T-shirts and would have taken the T-shirts off once they were inside,” Abraham said.

In October, CAIR-Chicago filed a discrimination claim and received a favorable ruling from the Illinois Department of Human Rights. “People go into the aquatic center all the time in plain clothes,” Abraham said. One complaint asks the court to force the county to take action. The other seeks monetary compensation.

Chicago Sun-Times, 30 December 2010