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CAIR-NY Files Discrimination Complaint Against Citibank for Denial of Services, Launches #BankingWhileMuslim Campaign

(NEW YORK, N.Y., 7/23/2019) – The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today announced the filing of a discrimination complaint with the New York City Human Rights Commission against Citibank for refusing to open a savings account for a Muslim New Yorker. 

According to the discrimination complaint, on July 3, 2019, the complainant, a married Muslim woman who wears a hijab (religious head scarf), attempted to open a savings account at Citibank. The complainant wanted to designate her husband as the beneficiary of the account. When she provided Citibank with her husband’s name, she was informed that Citibank would need three to four days to investigate her husband before an account could be opened.  The husband has an Arabic name and is of Palestinian origin. 

Citibank did not provide the complainant with any reasons for their investigation, and she was not able to open the savings account at Citibank. She left Citibank feeling embarrassed, offended and humiliated.  

SEE Discrimination Complaint Against Citibank For Denial of Services

“’Banking while Muslim’ is not a crime, yet financial institutions are singling out American Muslims for discriminatory treatment,” said CAIR-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed. “The inability to open a bank or savings account can have dire financial consequences for a family, in addition to the emotional and psychological effects associated with being denied service because of your race, nationality or faith. Citibank must respect the civil rights and liberties of Muslim New Yorkers and immediately amend its policies to stop discriminating against Muslims.” 

Mohamed noted that CAIR-NY has documented a pattern of banking discrimination targeting Muslims and individuals of Arab ancestry.

ALERT: CAIR-NY is in the process of collecting data for its #BankingWhileMuslim campaign. If you have faced discrimination at a bank or had a bank or credit account closed without justification or explanation, please tell us your story by taking our banking while Muslim survey at or by going to social media (Facebook; Twitter; Instagram) and sharing your story using the #BankingWhileMuslim.  

CAIR-NY expects to file multiple complaints, and lawsuits over the coming weeks against Citibank and other financial institutions for banking discrimination against Muslim New Yorkers.

New Yorkers may also contact CAIR-NY for assistance by filing an incident report online at or by calling 646-665-7599.  

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, 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.


CONTACT: CAIR-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed,, 646-481-2103; CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher,, 917-669-4006.


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