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Muslim Prison Guard Sues California

SACRAMENTO (CN) - Calling the treatment he receives from co-workers akin to "emotional torture," a Muslim prison guard sued California and its department of prisons.

Elsiddig Elhindi sued California and its Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Dec. 31 in Federal Court.

Elhindi, 56, a Sudanese immigrant, claims his co-workers at New Folsom prison have harassed him since 2009 for his race and religion, accusing him of being a terrorist.

"The stress level is unbelievable - it amounts to emotional torture," Elhindi said during a press conference Monday.

According to his lawsuit: "On countless occasions whenever Mr. Elhindi came into their presence, several co-workers would say 'lalalalalala BOOM' and simulate a suicide bomber."

Other comments included: "Is your vest like ours, or is it a suicide bombing vest?" and "Here is Elhindi, we need bomb-sniffing dogs," the complaint states.

He claims his supervisors ignored his complaints of the harassment.

Elhindi says his religion requires him to pray two to three times a day during his work hours, depending on his shift, and that his co-workers mock him for this.

"While we understand most work environments come with some level of joking and personal banter, employers must protect employees who become subjected to severe and pervasive harassment by their co-workers," his attorney Brice Hamack, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said at the press conference.

He seeks punitive damages for retaliation, harassment and civil rights violations.

Prisons spokesman Jeffrey Callison declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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