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Police Recruit Claims His Muslim Faith Got Him Fired

Tareq Elkhayyat, an American-born Muslim of Palestinian descent, is a former recruit for the Memphis Police Department. He has since filed a lawsuit against the City of Memphis and Mayor Jim Strickland, alleging that his training was terminated because of his religion.

According to The Commercial Appeal, Elkhayyat said in the lawsuit that he had been questioned numerous times about his faith and asked if he had any connections to extremist groups.

Elkhayyat passed a background check and began his training in August 2015. He was then asked about photos that his cousin had posted on Facebook, which the police training academy thought may indicate ties to the Islamic State. In addition, Elkhayyat's attorneys wrote, "Thereafter, Mr. Elkhayyat was pulled out of training repeatedly and questioned about his religion, terrorist groups, his association with his cousin."

Elkhayyat’s cousin shared photos of people and buildings with Arabic script, including the Muslim profession of faith: "There is no God but God, and Muhammad is God's messenger." In Elkhayyat’s internal file, these were labeled as connected to "ISIS/Jihad."

Dr. John Kaltner, a professor of Muslim-Christian relations at Rhodes College, told The Commercial Appeal, “[It] sounds to me like they're trying to make a link with Islamic terrorism that's a real stretch." In the lawsuit, Elkhayyat’s attorneys wrote that he was suing for “alleged violations of MPD policies, including its social media policy, which other cadets and officers violated without repercussion.”

Memphis Police Interim Director Michael Rallings explained that the MPD cannot comment on open litigation. He shared that part of the reason for Elkhayyat’s firing included pictures he had posted on social media of himself holding a weapon, which went against MPD’s policy for its recruits.

Rallings told FOX13, "All employers are looking at your social media and people need to be careful about things that they post and things they say that can be racist or extremist."

Photo: Commercial Appeal, But Thats None Of My Business

Man suing the City of Memphis over discrimination.

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