World Bulletin / News Desk
The service director of Canada’s spy agency said Friday he is taking “very seriously” claims by five employees who filed a CAN$35 million ($27 million) lawsuit over alleged anti-Muslim and racist remarks from colleagues.
The names of the claimants, managers and employees were not disclosed in the court filing Thursday because as spies, they are prohibited from identifying themselves.
But one of the claimants is, according to court documents, a Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS) employee known as “Cembal,” a Muslim of Turkish descent.
He alleged he was the victim of derogatory remarks and was frequently referred to by other CSIS employees as “imam,” “sheikh” and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamic political party of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and has been associated with Hamas.
Cembal has worked for the = agency for 21 years.
Another employee, who is referred to as “Emran” in the lawsuit, is a Moroccan-born Canadian citizen who said he was discriminated against because of his race and religion.
One intelligence office manager asked Emran if his loyalty was to “our Queen or the King of Morocco,” while another said all Muslims are bloodthirsty murders and terrorists.
A Muslim woman known as “Bahira” and who has been with CSIS for 15 years said anti-Muslim comments accelerated after she wore a hijab to work in 2004. The wearing of the hijab “caused an uproar”, the lawsuit claimed.
A woman known as “Dina” -- the first black woman at the agency -- was referred to as a “token black woman”.
CSIS director David Vieneault responded to the charges, none of which have been proven in a court of law, in a statement on the CSIS website.
“I believe strongly in leading an organization where every employee promotes a work environment which is free from harassment and conducive to equitable treatment of all individuals.
“Employees are always encouraged to report any real, potential or perceived incidents of harassment, without fear of reprisal, to their supervisor or senior management.”
But in the lawsuit, the claimants said their complaints to superiors were ignored.
The claimants are on leave from the agency because they are unable to perform their duties due to alleged discrimination and harassment, the lawsuit stated.
Last Mod: 15 Temmuz 2017, 00:48