Fatiha Harit was left in tears after officials at a Lompoc bank refused to let her open a checking account because of a concern for terrorism.

Harit, a Muslim, is from Morocco.

“(The bank representative) said sorry, we cannot open an account for you because your country is high (risk) in terrorism,” Harit said last week. “That means I belong to a terrorist county. The fact is, that is not true.”

A regional spokeswoman for officials at Union Bank of California, 805 North H St., acknowledged the error and issued a public apology Wednesday, five days after the incident.

By then, however, Harit and her American husband, William Armstrong, had opened an account at the Union Bank branch in Santa Maria, without incident.

Harit said she wanted to open an account at Union Bank in Lompoc because she works at a local nursing home that banks there. But she said a bank representative refused her request because she is from Morocco, in North Africa.

Harit said she believed she was being discriminated against because she was wearing a traditional Muslim headscarf, called a hejab. (MORE)


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