Education A National Roundup

Ex-Principal of Islamic School Wins Discrimination Case

By Joetta L. Sack — September 20, 2005 1 min read

The former principal of an Islamic school in California has been awarded nearly $800,000 in a discrimination lawsuit filed after she was fired from the school in 2003.

Zakiyyah Muhammad, an African-American woman who converted to Islam, was a longtime Islamic educator and the principal of Orange Crescent School in Garden Grove, Calif., from 1998 to 2003. She maintained she was discriminated against because of her race and sex.

She was abruptly fired, according Ed Connor, her lawyer, when she questioned the elder, Islamic-born males who were her superiors in the religious organization that runs the 400-student K-8 school.

Mr. Connor said Ms. Muhammad had been verbally abused by those elders and had demanded an apology shortly before she was fired. “She did not fit the stereotypical notions of how her male superiors believed women should behave,” Mr. Connor said.

The defendants are expected to appeal the verdict by a state court jury.

A version of this article appeared in the September 21, 2005 edition of Education Week