By: AFP WRITERS
Abdallah, 22, landed an internship as a Disneyland vacation planner after being recruited at the University of Illinois's Chicago campus earlier this year and completing an online and telephone interview.
But when she arrived in California for orientation last month, she said managers asked her why she had not mentioned her hijab and told her she would have to work in a position with less guest interaction until a "customized uniform" could be made.
The initial timeframe given to design and make it: five months, or the length of her internship.
"It broke my heart a little," Abdallah told the Chicago Tribune.
She contacted the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the theme park soon relented, allowing Abdallah to wear a fitted blue headscarf under a beret-style hat.
The original uniform includes an optional baseball cap for vacation planners -- who sell tickets in a box office -- but Abdallah will not be allowed to remove her beret.
She said she was pleased with the solution.
"I'd really hate to see another person lose the magic behind the Disney characters," said Abdallah, who grew up revering Belle from "Beauty and the Beast" and Ariel in "The Little Mermaid."
CAIR said Disney has a history of denying "front-stage jobs" to Muslim women who wear hijabs and urged the company to implement a company-wide policy that protects its employees' right to wear religious attire.
According to CAIR, Abdallah was the fourth woman to challenge the park's policies this year.
But Disney countered that it accommodated a number of religious requests from its workers.
"Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has a long history of accommodating a variety of religious requests from cast members of all faiths with more than 200 accommodations made over the last three years," Disney Resorts spokeswoman Suzi Brown said.
"And this instance was no different."
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