Seven Muslim Women Sue Urth Cafe Over Alleged Discrimination

hijab collage

The relationship between many Americans and Muslims, even those who are Americans themselves, continues to be strained. Recent events both here at home and around the world have caused many Americans to hold unfavorable views about an entire group of people. But for U.S. businesses in the private sector, holding such beliefs is turning out to be dangerous — and potentially expensive.

According to the Los Angeles Times, seven Muslim women are suing the Urth Cafe in Laguna Beach, CA, for what they claim was racially motivated and religious discrimination.

“What began as a night out with some friends ended as a painful and embarrassing reminder of what it is like to be visibly Muslim — even in liberal California,” Sara Farsakh, one of the women involved, wrote in a Facebook post soon after incident, which occurred on April 22nd. “By visibly Muslim, I mean women who wear the hijab, or headscarf.”

The seven women were allegedly finishing their meal when the manager came over and told them they had to leave. Supposedly they had overstayed their welcome, as the cafe has a 45-minute policy during “peak business hours.” The manager even had police officers come to escort them out of the establishment.

“These women were singled out and targeted [because the cafe] chose not to make this location a welcome space,” said Mohammad Tajsar, the attorney for the women. He continued that the area overall has shown patterns “of neighborhood hate crimes against Muslims,” in recent times.

According to a 2011 National Business Ethics Survey, 45% of American workers said that they had observed wrongdoing in the workplace. Normally, this comes at the hands of an employer towards an employee. An equally abhorrent act, but one that at least makes a bit more business sense than driving away customers. According to Pew Research Center, harassment of women over religious dress occurred in nearly 1/3 of countries in 2012.

For his part, the manager claims he was only following policy and “expected a busy evening and needed to clear tables of patrons who had been seated for longer than 45 minutes,” according to the lawsuit.

Unfortunately for him, the seven women aren’t buying it, claiming there were “at least 20 empty tables” available at the time. According to a Pew Research Center study, harassment of women over religious dress occurred in nearly one-third of countries in 2012.

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