Hindu Americans Call for Inquiry into Firing of Hindu Woman Accused of Witchcraft

Washington, D.C. (October 9, 2015) -- Leaders of the Hindu American Foundation spoke out against the U.S. Air Force’s dismissal of Deborah Schoenfeld, a Hindu woman accused of witchcraft by her co-workers. Schoenfeld, with support from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), has filed a complaint alleging religious discrimination after being dismissed from her position at the Epes Dental Clinic.

“This is old school bullying, old school prejudice, old school bigotry,” noted Michael “Mikey” Weinstein, Esq., MRFF Founder and President. “When you marginalize and tell another human being that they lack intelligent culture, bravery, character, and trustworthiness because of their chosen religious faith, it is no different than telling them that they are stupid because of the color of their skin or being born female.”

Schoenfeld, who has practiced Hinduism for the past 15 years, describes a pattern of harassment from her primarily-Christian colleagues. She notes that her faith and practice of yoga was described as “satanic,” and one colleague told her that meditating would summon demons. Another colleague allegedly celebrated Schoenfeld’s dismissal and replacement with a Christian employee as replacing a “devil” with an “angel.”

“What Deborah faced is something no employee, no matter their faith or lack of faith, should suffer,” said Harsh Voruganti, Esq., HAF Associate Director of Public Policy. “We demand a full inquiry into her dismissal from the U.S. Air Force, as well as renewed commitments to protect the religious freedom of all military personnel and contractors.”