(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/19/16) â€“ The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nationâ€™s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed a change in policy by Security National Bank (SNB) in Omaha, Neb., allowing entry into branches of that financial institution by Muslim women who wear Islamic head scarves, or hijab.
That change in policy came following intervention by CAIR after an incident in which SNB employees demanded that a Muslim woman remove her hijab before entering a branch office to open an account Tuesday.
Video: CAIR Asks Nebraska Bank to Change Policy Banning Hijab
SNB representatives today informed CAIR that the following text has been added to the bankâ€™s security policy.
â€œFor security purposes, please remove all items that obscure any part of your face such as sunglasses, brimmed hats, and hooded sweatshirts or tops. Religious head coverings that do not obscure the face are allowed.â€
â€œWe welcome Security National Bankâ€™s prompt change in policy allowing customers of all faiths to obtain financial services while maintaining their constitutionally-protected religious freedom,â€ said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. â€œWe hope this policy change sets a precedent for other banks nationwide that may ban religious head coverings.â€
He said the new policy would also protect the religious rights of Sikh men who wear turbans, Jewish men who wear yarmulkes and Christian women who wear habits or bonnets.
Awad noted that in 2013, following intervention by CAIRâ€™s New Jersey chapter, Century Savings Bank removed posters announcing a policy banning “hats, hoods, headgear, and sunglasses” for security purposes.
In 2014, CAIRâ€™s Michigan chapter and the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee-Michigan (ADC-MI) today announced the filing of a federal lawsuit against Advance America Cash Advance (Advance America) for denying a Muslim and Arab-American woman money order services because of her hijab.Â
CAIR has helped resolve a number of similar incidents nationwide in which Muslim customers wearing hijab have been harassed or denied service because of “no hats” policies implemented by banks nationwide.
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CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, email@example.com