High court and the hijab

From an editorial June 3 in the Los Angeles Times:

The Supreme Court this week strengthened an important civil rights statute when it ruled in favor of a Muslim teenager who was rejected for a job because she wore a head scarf.

But beyond its practical effect, the 8-1 decision offers a resounding reminder that generous accommodation of religious convictions – especially in minority faiths – is a noble American tradition.

The decision was a victory for Samantha Elauf, who was 17 when she applied for a position at an Abercrombie & Fitch outlet in Tulsa, Okla. She was rejected after appearing at an interview wearing a modified black hijab that she regards as a “symbol of modesty in my Muslim faith.”

The head covering was viewed as incompatible with the retailer’s “classic East Coast collegiate” look.

The court’s ruling against Abercrombie & Fitch is a timely reminder that in most cases, accommodating religious practice serves the interests of both devout individuals and a pluralistic society.