Published On: Mon, Jun 4th, 2012

Christian woman in Jordan fired for not dressing in Muslim garb


HAARETZ: A Christian Jordanian woman said Sunday she is suing her Gulf Arab employer for arbitrary dismissal after she refused a new dress code forcing her to cover her head.

A veiled Jordanian woman holds posters of Jordan's King Abdullah during a rally in Amman May 26, 2012. Reuters

The incident is rare and could stir religious tensions in Jordan, a predominantly conservative Muslim nation whose Western-educated ruler – King Abdullah II – is perceived as a staunch supporter of moderate Islam and tolerance of other religions.

“We are not in Iran, we are in Jordan, and we must continue to enjoy personal and religious freedoms as stipulated by our constitution,” said Vivian Salameh, 45, an assistant manager of corporate operations at the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank since March 2010 until she was fired a week ago.

“I’m Christian. Why should I wear something not dictated by my religion,” she said in an interview.

Christians make up nearly 4 percent of the country’s 6 million population.

Bank spokeswoman Eman Affaneh confirmed that Salameh was fired because “she refused to comply with the terms of her contract, which stipulates that all employees must respect management regulations and bank bylaws.”

“We are an Islamic establishment and the dress code is a reflection of our conservative Muslim traditions and values,” she said.

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