Columbus Federal Jury Hears Muslim Mother's Complaint
A federal jury in Columbus today hears more testimony in a case brought by a Muslim mother against a Franklin County Children Services case worker. Grandview Heights mother, Hadiya AbdulSallaam, alleges discrimination and harassment. The allegations in federal court stem from a custody case reaching back eight years. Caseworker Amber Spires is the lone defendant in the federal suit after Judge Algenon Marbley dismissed the agency and supervisory personnel. AbdulSalaam first contacted Franklin County Children Services to get help with a 16-year-old unruly son. A follow-up investigation resulted in a drawn-out custody battle. The Franklin County prosecutor's office is defending Spires saying she acted appropriately in her job as caseworker. Documents shown in court indicate AbdulSalaam at one point requested a Muslim caseworker but was told that would not happen. Flower told the court the agency also looked for many foster homes in Columbus for the 16-year-old son of AbdulSalaam. Although she's unable to comment on specifics of the case being argued in federal court, Children Services spokeswoman Doris Calloway-Moore said the agency is constantly looking for more Muslim foster homes. "We have made a concerted effort to recruit Muslim foster homes and Somali foster homes. And many times they are the same thing. Unfortunately, to date, we only have one Muslim family." Calloway Moore said but for the Somali clients, the agency has hardly any other Muslim children in its care. Abdul Salaam seeks undetermined compensatory and punitive damages. An eight member jury will decide the case.