Follow Us

Muslim diversity leader at Quaker group accused of being white: ‘She’s chosen to live a lie’

Raquel Evita Saraswati allegedly of German, Irish extraction.

Published: February 18, 2023 12:15pm

Updated: February 18, 2023 12:18pm

A prominent diversity leader at a major U.S. nonprofit is accused of having faked an ethnic identity for years, with the woman in question reportedly white in spite of appearing to be ethnically Middle Eastern.

Raquel Evita Saraswati, the chief equity, inclusion, and culture officer at the American Friends Service Committee, has appeared as “a woman of color, including Latina as well as of South Asian and Arab descent,” the Intercept reported on Friday.

Yet Saraswati’s mother, Carol Perone, told the publication that Saraswati herself is white. “I’m as white as the driven snow and so is she,” Parone said. 

Perone reportedly showed the Intercept photos of Saraswati as a child in which her complexion was “significantly lighter” than it is today. Another unnamed relative allegedly confirmed Perone’s claims. 

Saraswati did not respond to the Intercept’s queries, though the AFSC appeared to indicate it was standing by her amid the controversy. 

“AFSC does not require any employee to ‘prove’ their heritage as a condition of their employment, or in order to be valued as a member of our team,” the organization told the Intercept.

The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook

Just the News Spotlight