A Christian Jordanian woman said Sunday she is suing her Gulf Arab employer for arbitrary dismissal after she refused a new dress code forcing her to cover her head.

The incident is rare and could stir religious tensions in Jordan, a predominantly conservative Muslim nation whose Western-educated ruler — King Abdullah II — is perceived as a staunch supporter of moderate Islam and tolerance of other religions.

“We are not in Iran, we are in Jordan, and we must continue to enjoy personal and religious freedoms as stipulated by our constitution,” said Vivian Salameh, 45, an assistant manager of corporate operations at the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank since March 2010 until she was fired a week ago.

“I’m Christian. Why should I wear something not dictated by my religion?” she said in an interview.

Christians make up nearly 4 percent of the country’s 6 million population.

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