Okla. Police Captain Transferred for Refusing to Attend Muslim Event
Via TheBlaze, a Tulsa, OK police captain has filed a lawsuit against a superior after he was transferred following his refusal to attend a Muslim event. According to him, ordering him to attend the event was a violation of his religious convictions, and transferring him was religious retaliation.
Capt. Paul Fields is currently under internal investigation for refusing an order to send officers to the Islamic Society of Tulsa’s Law Enforcement Appreciation Day held at a local mosque.
“It is my opinion and that of my legal counsel that forcing me to enter a Mosque when it is not directly related to a police call for service is a violation of my Civil Rights,” Fields wrote in an internal police department memo obtained by Fox News.
“I have no problem with officers attending on a voluntary basis; however, I take exception to requiring officers to attend this event,” Fields wrote in an e-mail to his superior officer again obtained by Fox News. “I believe this directive to be an unlawful order, as it is in direct conflict with my personal religious convictions.”
Deputy Chief Daryl Webster to Captain Paul Fields explaining that the order to send officers had nothing to do with religion. “Since you are not required to participate or assist in any religious observance, make any expression of belief, or adopt any belief system, this meeting is a secular law enforcement function that happens to take place at a venue associated with a religious belief,” Webster stated.
An Islamic Society of Tulsa spokesperson told KOKI that the event was meant to say “thank you” to the police for investigating a threat made to the establishment. But complicating Webster’s claims that the event was non-religious is a promotional flyer saying the event would include “presentations” on “beliefs, human rights, and women.” Attendees would also be able to watch a Muslim prayer service and take a tour of the mosque.
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, didn’t hesitate to label the incident an example of “anti-Muslim bigotry.”
Gary Allison, a professor at the University of Tulsa College of Law, said the case poses a dilemma. “It is true that individuals have their own religious beliefs and that they come to their workplace with their own religious beliefs,” Allison said. “The question is, how far can an employer go to require people to go against their religious beliefs for something to do the job that they are supposed to do?”