(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/2/2009) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether a California bank violated a Muslim woman’s civil rights when it denied her service because she was wearing a religiously-mandated head scarf, or hijab.
According to the woman, she was denied service Saturday at a Navy Federal Credit Union in San Diego, Calif., despite telling bank officials that she wears her head scarf for religious reasons.
In a statement, the bank said:
“’In the interest of Security and Safety for our members and employees – hats, hoods and sunglasses must be removed when entering the branch office.’ Special consideration for cultural and religious garments is under the discretion of the branch management. Navy Federal is making inquiries into the recent incident.”
“Under this bizarre and discriminatory policy, no Muslim woman wearing a head scarf, no Sikh man wearing a turban, no Jewish man wearing a yarmulke, no Catholic nun wearing a habit, no cancer survivor wearing a scarf, no Amish woman wearing a bonnet, and no blind person wearing sunglasses may enter a Navy Federal Credit Union branch nationwide,” said CAIR-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida. “We call on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate this disturbing case and Navy Federal’s apparently unconstitutional policy and to ensure that the religious rights of all customers are maintained.”
Hopida said CAIR offers a booklet called “An Employer’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices” to help corporate managers gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties and advocacy group has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. 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-San Diego Public Relations Director Edgar Hopida, 619-913-0719 or 858-278-4547, E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202 488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com