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Op-Ed: Woman kicked out of Family Dollar for wearing traditional niqab

By Karen Graham     Aug 4, 2016 in World
Gary - A Gary, Indiana woman, Sarah Safi, dropped into a local Family Dollar store to pick up some charcoal for a family barbecue. Instead, her religious beliefs were insulted and she was asked to leave.
Safi, 32, is the mother of four children and is used to being stared at for wearing her religious garb, being a devout Muslim. But she says she has never been discriminated against like she was when she entered Family Dollar, and her emotions are still raw after the encounter.
ABC7 News quotes Safi as saying, "I might have made it 10 steps into the store and I hear the lady behind the counter say, 'Ma'am, you need to take that off your face or you need to leave my store."
It was at this point that Safi began recording the encounter on her cell phone. Safi was born and raised in Texas and moved to Gary a few years ago. She told the clerk she wears the niqab and hijab for religious purposes. The clerk, who identified herself as being the manager, insisted that she leave.
"I understand, but you have to understand too this is a high crime area and we get robbed a lot. You need to remove that from your face or remove yourself from the store," the clerk is seen saying on the video that can be seen on Facebook.
Safi, in turn, told the manager that this is a free country with freedom of religion and freedom of speech, saying she had the right to wear whatever she wants. The manager shot back, saying if Safi didn't leave the store she would call the police.
Safi says she thought to herself, "Do I wait for the police to come and let my children see this, or do I go ahead and just go and let Allah handle it how he sees fit?" (Her children were waiting in the car).
As Safi left the store, the manager had the nerve to give her a parting verbal shot: "Have a blessed day," she said.
Ahmed Rehab, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, told NBC Chicago, "It's not just a blatant violation of the civil rights laws of this country but it's also a violation of the basic laws of decency and morality that you don't treat customers this way just because they have a different cultural background or a different religion."
This writer is embarrassed, no, angry at this latest incident of ignorance and outright discrimination going on in this country. I could blame Donald Trump for his role in stirring up hostility against anyone who is not white, and professes to be a Christian, and maybe he is partly to blame.
But folks have conveniently forgotten the principles this country was founded on, and more importantly, why. I would love to say to that "holier than thou" store manager, "who died and left you in charge of making the rules regarding the type of people allowed to shop in your store?"
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Niqab, Muslim woman, Family dollar, Gary Indiana, Religious freedom