A video captured in Indiana shows the manager of a Family Dollar store asking a woman to leave the store because she was wearing a niqab.
The incident, which took place in Gary, drew a response from the Council On American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“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,” said CAIR’s Ahmed Rehab in a statement.
The video showed the manager of the Family Dollar telling the veiled woman, Sarah Muzdaher Safi: “Yes ma’am if you can’t remove that from your face, I’m going to need you to leave the store.”
Safi was wearing a niqab, veil worn by some Muslim women that covers their face, leaving only the area around the eyes clear.
“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,'” Safi told ABC7 in Chicago.
Safi, who was born and raised in Texas, then turned on her cell phone and started recording.
“I’ve worn my garments for a long time,” she told NBC Chicago. “I have never been treated like this in any establishment. Ever.”
She told the manager that it’s a religious garment.
“I understand, but you have to understand this is a high-crime area where we get robbed a lot,” the manager told her in response. “You need to remove that from your face or remove yourself from the store.”
Safi said that while she’s not planning to return to the store, she hopes that the manager would understand why she is dressed the way she is. “I want to explain to her what I believe,” she said.