Muslim employees of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington said they felt discriminated against after being barred over the weekend from floors where an Israeli delegation was staying, a Muslim advocacy group said.
One hotel worker whose duties involve going to all the hotel's floors said he was preparing for his shift on Friday when his supervisor told him to steer clear of the eighth and ninth floors, where Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak and his delegation had booked rooms.
"I said, 'Why?'" said the worker, who is Muslim and wanted to remain unidentified to protect his job. He said his supervisor told him, "They're Israelis there, and they don't want no face-to-face with Muslims."
The hotel's general manager, Amanda Hyndman, said the hotel rearranged some shifts and told some workers not to come in after a routine State Department background check found "irregularities" in the checks of 12 employees.
"We don't know the reasons why," Hyndman said, adding that not all the people on the list were Muslim. She said she did not know whether any Muslim employees were allowed to work on the eighth and ninth floors over the weekend.
After receiving a letter from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, Hyndman said the hotel planned to investigate the incident. "We uphold our policies of anti-discrimination," she said.
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