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CAIR-Minnesota Seeks Apology for Muslim Family Treated in Discriminatory Manner at Rochester Red Lobster

(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 6/13/18) – The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) today said that it is calling on the Red Lobster restaurant chain to take remedial action, including a written apology, after a Muslim family reported receiving harsh treatment at a restaurant in Rochester, Minn.

CAIR-MN said the family requested water to break their Ramadan fast but did not receive any for at least 30 minutes after several requests to different servers were made. When the family complained to the restaurant manager and raised the issue of possible bias in their treatment, they were reportedly told: “You people love to play the race card whenever you can.”

When the manager was told the family would complain to the Red Lobster corporate headquarters, the manager allegedly said: “Go ahead and call them. It’s going to be your word against mine. They won’t believe you.”

A Red Lobster server, on hearing that the incident related to the Ramadan fast, allegedly said: “I know all about Ramadan. A Muslim hit my car the other day because she was too hungry to drive in Ramadan. I almost got injured because of Ramadan.”

In a letter to Red Lobster corporate officials, CAIR-MN alleges violation of the Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

CAIR-MN is seeking a written apology, compensation for the discriminatory treatment — which would be donated in full to charity — updated anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies, and sensitivity training for Red Lobsteremployees, with a trainer approved by CAIR-MN.

“It is unconscionable that a family seeking to observe their religious principles would be so harshly treated by those paid to serve the public and who are legally bound to offer that service without discrimination,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Attorney Ellen Longfellow.

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

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CONTACT: CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-206-3360,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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