DELHI – A Muslim woman from Patna, India, has been denied a job opportunity in a Delhi orphanage because of her choice to don a hijab.
“I am sorry to inform that from even a distance of one kilometer you look like a Muslim lady due to your external Muslim gears,” Harish Varma, president, and CEO of Delhi Orphanage for girls wrote in an email cited by Indian Express.
Nedal Zoya, a masters’ graduate from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, had applied to be a social worker at the orphanage.
Despite passing the required tests, Zoya was told by her recruiter that her hijab posed a problem in his “religion-free” institution.
The hijabi Muslim, who was also expelled from a previous job because of her hijab, replied that her Islamic hijab is a “priority” for her.
Replying to Zoya’s email, Varma wrote he was ‘shocked’ to know that “conservative Islam was Zoya’s priority, not humanity” and that “her higher education has gone down the drain.”
He added that the orphanage would be ‘religion-free’, including Hinduism among those religions, saying he will not allow “any kind of religious activities inside [his] orphanage.”
In the email, Varma also told Zoya they hired another Muslim girl “who has modern thoughts with religion-free mindset despite the fact that she is born, raised and is living in Batla House, New Delhi.”
Replying to Indian Express asking for a comment, Varma stood by the contents of his email, denying that Zoya’s rejection was an act of Islamophobia.