Former Texas A&M Employee Speaks Out About Discrimination Lawsuit

By: Jeremy Desel, KHOU 11 News Email
By: Jeremy Desel, KHOU 11 News Email

Texas-Texas A&M is known around the world for its cloning research.
Dr. Mundhir Ridha is a world-renowned scientist. Even though he's Kurdish, he was employed and protected under the reign of Saddam Hussein because of his skill and forced out of his homeland after Hussein's fall.
A&M and Ridha would seem to be a perfect match.
But this is how Ridha describes his time in College Station:
"The persecution and abuse. It was intolerable. It was pain. It was depression," he said.
So what went wrong?
Both Ridha and his wife are Muslim and must pray five times a day.
They said colleagues and supervisors in the A&M Reproductive Sciences Lab taunted Mrs. Ridha about her prayers.
Ridha said they even desecrated his holy rug with feces from the research mouse cages.
"When it comes to my altar, my prayer rug. Desecrate my religion. I am sorry. I can't tolerate that," he said.
Ridha said he complained to the dean and the university, only to be retaliated against.
So now, he's suing.
Texas A&M said it can't comment on cases involving pending litigation.
But the university's internal investigation found that lab personnel had created "a hostile work environment" and ordered the staff to undergo diversity awareness and sensitivity training.
Since then, the other employees' work has gone on like nothing ever happened, but Ridha said his life is forever changed.
"I can do nothing to support my family," he said.
Now his American Dream is dependent on the American court system.
The university took no action against anyone in the lab because it says Dr. Rihda (ree-dah) fabricated evidence, mainly those pictures you saw of his prayer rug.
He says that that is a misunderstanding and that the pictures were taken at the time of the alleged incident.
Rihda now says that's just further evidence of the discrimination against him.

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