Muslims Ask City to Use Leverage with Hotel Firm

April 13, 2007

Author: Brendan O'Shaughnessy

Source: The Indianapolis Star

A developer planning to build a Convention Center hotel in Downtown Indianapolis has come under fire from local Islamic advocates concerned that the company will discriminate against Muslim women here.

White Lodging Services Corp., one of the two developers of the proposed 1,000-room hotel, was recently sued in Kentucky for refusing to hire four Muslim women unless they worked without wearing a hijab, the traditional head covering for women mandated by Islamic religious teachings.

The Muslim Alliance of Indiana, the Islamic Society of North America and a union group called Unite Here have asked Mayor Bart Peterson to make several demands before the city gives White Lodging and its partner, REI Real Estate Services of Carmel, more than $48.5 million in public subsidies.

The advocates want White Lodging to meet with them, conduct diversity training for its employees, create protocols that prevent discrimination and allow its hotel employees to organize in unions.