Soldier says she faced harassment over Muslim name
By MICHAEL BIESECKER Associated Press May 8, 2013 3:12PM
Sgt. 1st Class Naida Nova is shown in this undated U.S. Army photo provided by Sgt. Nova. With her family name emblazoned on her uniform, Sgt. Nadia Hosan says she was routinely the target of derogatory remarks from other soldiers who mistakenly assumed she is a Muslim. So before deploying for her second war tour, the life-long Catholic legally changed her name to Nadia Christian Nova. The 82nd Airborne, who in a federal lawsuit she claims branded her a Muslim sympathizer, revoked her security clearance and tried to force her out of the Army with a less than honorable discharge. (AP Photo/US Army)
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A U.S. Army sergeant whose family name led other soldiers mistakenly assume she is a Muslim says she was the target of taunts and discrimination for years.
Sgt. 1st Class Naida Hosan even changed her name to Naida Christian Nova before deploying to Afghanistan in 2012, but she says that didn’t stop the problems. After the Catholic soldier repeatedly complained about racist jokes and epithets, Nova says she was labeled a Muslim sympathizer and that superiors tried to kick her out of the Army.
Nova filed a complaint in federal court in January alleging religious discrimination. She later withdrew the suit after the Army offered to drop all disciplinary action against her. A Persian Farsi linguist who works in military intelligence, Nova reenlisted in the Army last month.