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Muslims experience workplace, hiring discrimination

Despite being qualified, "Rox" has not been able to find work over a year and she suspects that her hijab has everything to do with it.

It's evidenced by the story she shared with Maki Pulido on 24 Oras on Wednesday, where she recalled her experience of being fired just a week after being accepted for job training.

"May isang company po na natanggap po ako. Nakapagtraining po ako ng one week. After nun kinausap ako ng admin, pwede ko ba tanggalin," she said of her hijab.

"Sabi ko hindi po e ito na po patakaran namin. After hours, sinabi sa akin na hindi ako tanggap. Ako lang hindi natanggap sa group namin."

But even when they forgo their hijab, the word "Islam" on a Muslim person's resumé automatically brands them as a terrorist to some employers.

"Di naman maalis sa resumé natin ano kang relihiyon so nakalagay Islam. Kapag sinasabi nang Islam ay terrorista kayo," said "Sai," who does not wear a hijab.

The siege in Marawi City only worsened matters for Filipino Muslims, who now feel as if their identities are being framed solely around their religion.

"Masakit talaga 'yan, parang hindi tuloy Pilipino tawag sa amin, parang kunyari lang kami dito nakatira," Nor-ain Guini said. "Pilipino naman kami. Bakit ganun?"

Though no law specifies anti-religious discrimination in employment, Article III of the 1987 Constitution of the Philippines states that "no law shall be made respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof."

UP Institute for Islamic Studies Assistant Professor Jamel Cayamodin said that a law must be established to prevent workplace discrimination against Muslim people or even other persons in different religions.

"I think we need to pass a law to stop this discrimination against any religious sect ah, not only Muslims para we can promote peaceful coexistence," Cayamodin said.

An anti-religious discrimination bill is currently in the works in both Senate and Congress. — Rie Takumi/BM, GMA News