The Muslim Civil Rights Center (MCRC)
and the Chicago office of the Council on American Islamic Relations
(CAIR-Chicago) today announced that three Muslim men of Palestinian
heritage filed a complaint against a Chicago-area theater over
allegations of religious and national-origin discrimination.
The complaint, filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights
against Loews Cineplex in Crestwood, Ill., alleges that the men were
evicted from a screening of Mel Gibson’s “Passion of the Christ” in
February of this year.
The theater security guards allegedly mocked the Arabic spoken by the
men and told them to speak English because “this is America.” The guards
also reportedly joked that the Muslim moviegoers might have a bomb.
“Under Illinois and federal law, theaters and other places of public
accommodation must treat all customers equally,” said CAIR-Chicago board
member Kamran Memon, who is also legal representative for the men. “We
expect Loews to train its employees to ensure that customers do not face
such harassment, regardless of their religion, ethnicity or national
“What these men endured is unacceptable and must be addressed by theater
management,” said MCRC’s Community Outreach Coordinator Ahmad Tansheet.
Tansheet said there should be zero tolerance for anti-Muslim bigotry in
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, is headquartered
in Washington, D.C., and has 28 regional offices and chapters nationwide
and in Canada.
MCRC, an Islamic civil and human rights group based in Illinois, creates
awareness about civil and human rights among American Muslims and
provides legal assistance to victims of rights violations.
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