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Muslim teacher files discrimination complaint after being put on leave for pro-Palestine email slogan

Other teachers put political slogans in their email signatures, but only Hajur El-Haggan faced a penalty, says her lawyer


New Delhi, Dec. 18: An Egyptian-American teacher filed a discrimination complaint after she was put on administrative leave pending an investigation due to her pro-Palestinian email signature, Anadolu Agency reported on Sunday.

According to Anadolu report, Hajur El-Haggan, who was teaching in the Eastern state of Maryland, told CNN, explaining why she added the phrase “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” to her email signature, saying she wanted to stand against injustice to oppressed groups and show that she believes in freedom, justice, and the rights of all people.

Rebuffing the UN Anti-Defamation League (ADL) claim that the phrase is antisemitic and used by supporters of terrorist groups, El-Haggan said there may be some debates around it, “just like any political slogan,” but stressed the importance of its intended meaning.

“And the intended meaning is for freedom and justice for the Palestinians and the oppressed people in general,” she said.

‘Double standards’

El-Haggan’s lawyer Zanah Ghalawanji said the school administration’s policy of “teachers refraining from including political statements in their emails” is not applied to all teachers.

“There were other teachers at school who added political slogans to their email signatures, ranging from Black Lives Matter to slogans revolving around the LGBTQ movement. However, Hajur was the only one disciplined for her email signature.”

Ghalawanji decried the double standards applied to Arab and Muslim employees, saying that these employees were “disciplined at work due to disproportionately applied policies, while other employees were not.”

Ghalawanji also said the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a complaint alleging that the incident shows discrimination.



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