By Husnaa Vhora
The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC) helped lead the effort towards the uncontested passing of Senate Bill 1697 (SB1697) by the Illinois General Assembly Labor Committee. SB1697, otherwise known as the Religious Garb Bill, “provides that it is a violation for an employer to impose any term condition that requires a person to violate his or her religion including the wearing of any attire, clothing, or facial hair in accordance with the requirements of his or her religion.”
As part of the effort, CIOGC sent out witness slips to the Chicago Muslim community and encouraged community leaders and organizations to sign. In Springfield, CIOGC Programs Associate Farah Bousmaha took to the floor to testify in favor of the bill. The testimony included not only why this bill is important to Muslims but also to people of other faiths who wear articles of clothing for religious reasons. This ruling covers articles of clothing such as a hijab or yarmulke, to physical appearance such as growing a beard. The passing of this bill means that employees can fulfill their religious obligations, while no longer compromising their appearance to obtain or retain employment. The bill is scheduled for a second reading in the Senate next week.