A former police officer from Orange County, Florida, filed a lawsuit against his former employer for allegedly firing him because he is Muslim.
Waleed Albakri said he was seeking compensation for the "emotional pain, suffering and humiliation" he allegedly endured during his time with the Orange County Sheriff's Department, where he worked from 2008 to 2014.
"They were using names like, ‘I'm not an American’ or ‘I will never be an American." he told WESH. Albakri also claimed that his the department refused to accommodate his request to fast during Ramadan.
In addition to the lawsuit, Albakri said he also wants his job back.
"I just want to be reinstated," he said. "I want my name cleared, and I want the sheriff's office to take responsibility for what their employees did. People knew about it because people were watching, and there were supervisors watching all of these actions. And guess what? No one did anything to end it."
Albakri first made a complaint regarding discrimination in 2012, and was subsequently arrested for insurance fraud. He was arrested again in 2014. He was officially fired in 2014, and the department said it was in relation to the insurance fraud case.
"[Albakri] was an excellent employee and when he stood up for his rights as an American Muslim, he was insulted, arrested and fired," the Council On American Islamic Relations told the Orlando Sentinel in a statement.
The lawsuit was specifically aimed at Sheriff Jerry Demings, WESH reported. Albakri said the arrests were made in response to the complaints he made against his co-workers. The charges were ultimately dropped when he agreed to enter a pretrial diversion program.
Readers on the Mad World News Facebook page gave their thoughts on Islam and Albakri.
"He said the department didn't make special accommodations for him to be able to fast during their heathen holiday," one reader questioned in a comment on the site's Facebook page. "As far as I understand, fasting is not eating during the day. Then stuffing themselves at night. So is he saying the department was cramming food down his gullet during the day? Just curious."
"If more people had the gumption to stand up to their outrageous demands it wouldn't be long before they learned we will not be intimidated by them," another added. "Maybe we should gather all these sick whinny individuals up and send them all back to their country of origin. They have not had background checks and why would all your young men and women of fighting age come here if not to try and take over our country. Wake up Americans and get ready to defend your right to freedom, and your right to live."