(ALPHARETTA, GA, 12/3/2019) The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations today welcomed an apology that Nordstrom Rack delivered to a Georgia Muslim family after the store mishandled an incident of anti-Muslim harassment that occurred at the company's Alpharetta location last month.
On Saturday, Nov. 16th, five members of an American Muslim family were visiting Nordstrom Rack North Point Market Center located at 6200 North Point Pkwy, Alpharetta, GA 30022 when an unidentified female customer harassed them.
While three Muslim children aged 11 to 13, including two girls wearing hijabs, were sitting on the floor in a toy aisle reading a book, an unidentified white female walked past them multiple times, left the aisle, and then returned.
The woman then kicked a box across the floor; it slid past the children, nearly hitting one of them. When the children looked up at the woman, she asked why they were staring at her. The children said they were not staring at her, at which point the woman said to the girls wearing hijabs, "Who looks different here? Me or you?"
One of the children left to alert their parents, who found the woman in a clothing section. When the parents asked the woman whether she had a problem with black people, she responded, "I love black people. I have a problem with Muslims." She also said the children were "sitting on the floor like rugrats," and proceeded to make bigoted remarks about Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (may peace and prayers be upon him).
The family captured the aftermath of the incident on a cell phone camera. The footage shows the parents arguing with the woman about her conduct. It also shows a Nordstrom security guard ordering the family to leave instead of the woman who started the incident.
Both the guard and store manager later apologized to the family, as did Nordstrom's corporate office.
CAIR-Georgia has also called on Nordstrom's to release full security camera footage related to the incident, but the store refuses to do so, citing an internal policy that only permits the release of footage pursuant to a court order or law enforcement request. According to the store, security cameras were not working in all parts of the store, and only captured the aftermath of the incident as the parties left the building.
In a statement, CAIR-Georgia Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell said:
"This is America. Everyone has the right to hold bigoted views, but no one has the right to harass children. Whoever kicked an object near three children, mocked their religious clothing, and launched a vile rant about their religious beliefs crossed the line from hate speech to harassment.
"We thank Nordstrom Rack for apologizing to the family, but we once again call on the store to release all security camera footage related to the incident so that the woman responsible can be identified, banned from the store, and investigated for her conduct."
CONTACT: CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Ahmed Mitchell, 404-285-9530, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-GA Communications Director Sawsan Selim, email@example.com