Tulsa woman testifies in Abercrombie hijab case

A Tulsa woman testified Tuesday that she hopes her role in a lawsuit against Abercrombie & Fitch will set a positive example for other young Muslims. “If they’re able to shop there, they should be able to get a job there, too,” Samantha Elauf, 20, told a Tulsa federal jury.

Elauf was not hired to work at an Abercrombie Kids store at Woodland Hills Mall in June 2008 after she wore a hijab – or religiously mandated headscarf – to her job interview. She testified Tuesday that she felt insulted and disrespected after she discovered that she was not hired because of the headscarf. “It was shocking to me,” Elauf said. “I thought I was like everybody else.”

She testified that she was born in the United States and considers herself to be a typical American. She told the jury that she always wears a headscarf in public, including while on the job at the places where she has been employed. She testified that she loves fashion, considers the mall her “second home” and hopes to open her own clothing store someday.

But ever since June 2008, Elauf said, she has wondered whether people are judging or “categorizing” her because of her scarf.

Tulsa World, 19 July 2011