Posted by: Ophelia | July 27, 2008

Lose the hijab or lose your job

Toi Whitfield, 20, and Quiana Pugh, 25, said they applied for jobs at the McDonald’s on Ford Road in the eastern section of Dearborn but were told by the store manager, “You’re not going to work here if you don’t remove” the headscarf, known as a hijab.

A spokeswoman for McDonald’s did not comment on the case.

The Dearborn restaurant is one of only two McDonald’s restaurants in the United States that sells Chicken McNuggets that are halal, the Muslim equivalent of kosher. In recent years, a number of corporate restaurants in Dearborn have started selling halal meat in order to tap into the growing Muslim customer base.


Given the consideration McDonald’s has given to their Muslim clientele, it’s a bit odd that they won’t allow the women to wear hijab. In the discussions of this story in the blogosphere people cite the necessity of standardized dress. One then has to wonder why McDonald’s didn’t simply cite this as the reason for their prohibition on employees wearing the hijab.

So what do you think, is it a simple matter of corporate prohibition on non standard dress, or is it good old fashioned prejudice?



  1. “We can take advantage of your beliefs, but you can’t express them in here”

  2. They would not ask a christian to remove a cross or a Jewish person to take off a yarmulke or the star of David. This is specifically aimed at the Muslim community and has its basis in American ethnocentrism. There is simply too much tension in this area of the states to believe that this is anything but cultural biases. I am not sure if anyone remembers the controversy over the call to prayer be played and yet somehow the population had no problem with the church bells loudly ringing disturbing the peace. This is an extremely ethnically divided area and that must be taken into account when looking at this.

  3. This is religious discrimination. It isn’t like wearing a hijab could interfere with her work or with the safety of others… management simply feels uncomfortable with it. I think Renee might have the answer to why…

  4. In fact . . . since food service employees usually have to cover the heads with a hairnet or basball cap or something, it makes even less sense. Yup, definite religious discrimination there.

  5. Another thought that occurs to me is the idea that is circulating that Muslims somehow aren’t real Americans. They are socially constructed as being other and this can be seen in many Nativist publications. Even if one is born in the states religion in this case Islam specifically seen to negate citizenship. When we consider that McDonalds is considered to be prime Americana there is a conflict between and Islam as a culture. The idea then is that these two supposedly binary identities cannot peacefully co-exist, therefore to take part in one is to abandon or negate the other.

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