Business Allegedly Discriminates Against Arab-American Woman, Woman Sues

| by Lisa Fogarty

An Arab-American woman says she was kicked out of Advance America in Inkster, Michigan, because she was wearing a traditional headscarf.

Raghdaa Ali says she walked into the cash advance provider in June and that the clerk refused to make her transaction. Instead, she says, she was told to “get out,” reports WXYZ Detroit.

The clerk reportedly pointed to a sign in the shop that says Advance America has a no hat policy.

“This is our beliefs and our religious [beliefs] – we cannot take it off,” Ali said. “She said if you cannot take it off, we cannot serve you.”

Ali says a “lack of [knowledge of] religious culture” is to blame here and that she has the same rights as anyone else to practice her religious beliefs.

Backed by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee, Ali reportedly filed a federal lawsuit against the company. Her argument is that she isn’t forced to remove her headscarf to take a photo for her Michigan state ID or Driver’s License and should not be forced to do so in a store or place of business.

“In this instance, we are talking about a religiously protected activity,” said Fatina Abdrabboh, the director of the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee. “In this instance, we are talking about mistreatment towards somebody because of the way they look.”

But Advance America defended its policy in the following statement:

For the safety of our customers and employees, Advance America requires the temporary removal of hoods, hats, sunglasses and other head coverings in order to be admitted into our centers. The safety and security of our customers and employees are our primary responsibilities and our policy ensures that those entering our centers are easily identifiable. The company respects all religious beliefs and serves all customers with dignity and respect. While Advance America understands the concerns expressed by the plaintiff we regret that she may have misinterpreted the intent of our policy, and we intend to vigorously defend the legitimate security purpose of our practice in court.

Source: WXYZ Detroit

Photo Credit: WXYZ Detroit