Hotel suspends Muslim staff for Ehud Barak's Visit to Washington


JNN 15 Dec 2010 : Muslim employees in a hotel in Washington complain of discrimination as they were removed from the premises during Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s stay, a group representing them says.

A protest letter was handed over to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s management on Wednesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) of the alleged discrimination towards their Muslim brethren, calling for an investigation.

Barak visited Washington on Dec. 10 and 11 and met with Vice President Joe Biden, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, among others, over the Israeli-Palestinian talks and the (illegal) settlement issue.

One supervisor at the hotel reportedly told a Muslim worker that the Israeli delegation “don’t want no (sic) face-to-face with Muslims.”

The hotel’s general manager said she told some employees not to come in after the State Department had found “irregularities” in routine background checks on them before the Israeli visit, Washington Post reported.

But the State Department spokesman Philip Crowley in defense said that the diplomatic security did not bar any person from the hotel. It failed to say that the Muslim employees were barred from floors where Barak was staying, as the complainers have alleged.

He only said that this was a “routine” check and added that there is “a lot of disinformation” surrounding the complaint from the employees, AFP reported.

“We do routine law enforcement background checks on all individuals who may have access to or working in the vicinity of the delegation or official that we’re protecting,” Crowley said.

“Where we have concerns based on these criminal record checks we may request that the hotel limits their staff access to the delegation,” he said.

The CAIR said it is awaiting a statement from the hotel before determining whether to file a complaint.


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