Coach discriminated against Muslim players

Three former Muslim football players filed a federal lawsuit against the New Mexico State University and coach Hal Mumme, saying they were dismissed from the university team because of their religion, Sporting reported.

Coach discriminated against Muslim players

The American Civil Liberties Union filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mu'Ammar Ali and brothers Anthony and Vincent Thompson, who all moved to Portland State.

"Universities are supposed to be places of evolved thinking and reason, not of base intolerance and bigotry" said Peter Simonson, executive director of ACLU New Mexico.

"In this case, the university failed its purpose, and a coach indulged in those prejudices to assert his own religious preferences over the players and the team."

The lawsuit accuses Mumme, who was hired by New Mexico State in January 2005, of instituting a "religious brotherhood" within the football team and singling out Muslim athletes.

It states that Mumme asked the team to recite Christian prayers after each practice and before each game. This practice made the three Muslim athletes feel like outcasts and forced them to perform their prayers separately from other players, according to the lawsuit.

Mumme also banned the Thompsons from attending the team's spring 2005 training camp, claiming that they were "troublemakers".

Moreover, he dismissed Ali, the Aggies' leading rusher in 2004, through a telephone message on Oct. 9, 2005.

Last year, the ACLU filed a grievance against Mumme, accusing him of repeatedly questioning Ali about his views on al-Qaeda network, and asking for a public apology and disciplinary action against the coach.

In response, New Mexico State hired Albuquerque law firm Miller Stratvery, which concluded that the football program didn't engage in religious discrimination against the three Muslim players.

Mr Simonson said the school's failure to take action against Mumme and the conclusions reached by the law firm were behind ACLU's decision to file the recent lawsuit.

"The only resource left to us was a lawsuit," he said. "When you've got players reporting that the coach is having players recite the Lord's Prayer as a routine practice… That in itself suggests a discriminatory environment."

Reports of discrimination against Muslims in the United States sharply increased after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

The number of assault or other discriminatory complaints filed with CAIR increased from 1,019 in 2003 to 1,972 in 2005, the rights group says.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16