Muslim Woman Wins Social Advocacy Prize

Samantha Elauf, a Muslim woman from Tulsa Oklahoma, received a social justice award to honor her fight against discrimination by an employer who denied her a job because she wears the hijab. Samantha received the “Changing World” prize from the Woody Guthrie Center during a ceremony on December 4th.

Samantha’s story goes back to June 2008 when she interviewed with Abercrombie & Fitch for a position at one of their kids store. She was 17 years old at the time and representatives of the company told her that she cannot be offered the job because she wears the hijab. They said the headscarf was against Abercrombie’s dress code.

Samantha reached out to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed a complaint. The commission sued Abercrombie & Fitch on her behalf and the lawsuit lasted almost 7 years going through the justice system until it reached the Supreme Court. In 2015 the court ruled in favor of Samantha.

"I felt like I needed to stand up for what I believe in. I had never experienced anything like that and I knew it wasn’t right. I see how much a difference I did make, not just for myself but all minorities in the world. Especially for Muslim women who have felt uncomfortable with the interview process or have felt like they are being judged based on their religious beliefs." Samanth Elauf.