Raghdaa Ali entered an Inkster branch of Advance America to get some quick cash. When she went into the business, she apparently thought that the rules didn’t apply to her. The facility had a prominently posted sign informing customers to “please remove hats and sunglasses.” It’s not an outlandish policy; any business with large amounts of cash on hand would want to be able to clearly identify those entering their doors.
Ali was wearing a hijab, so she was asked by the clerk inside of the business to leave the facility since she was breaking the rules.
Ali claims she was being discriminated against due to her religion. She told WXYZ in broken English, “This is our beliefs and our religious, you know, we cannot take it off. She [the clerk] said, ‘If you cannot take it off, we cannot serve you.’”
Of course, without wasting any time, CAIR got involved in the case. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is helping Ali file a religious discrimination lawsuit against the business. The Conservative Tribune reported that the suit argues that because Michigan does not require Muslim women to remove their head scarves for state identification photographs, the store’s claim that proper identification requires their removal is discriminatory. “This is my country and I have the same right as they have,” Ali said.
But Advance America is not backing down from their policy or the right of their clerk to enforce it. They released a statement in response to the federal lawsuit explaining that their policy is not in place for identification purposes, but for the safety of their customers and employees. The statement read:
For the safety of our customers and employees, Advance America requires the temporary removal of hoods, hats, sunglasses and other head coverings in order to be admitted into our centers. The safety and security of our customers and employees are our primary responsibilities and our policy ensures that those entering our centers are easily identifiable. The company respects all religious beliefs and serves all customers with dignity and respect. While Advance America understands the concerns expressed by the plaintiff we regret that she may have misinterpreted the intent of our policy, and we intend to vigorously defend the legitimate security purpose of our practice in court.
Immigrants cannot expect the rest of society to accommodate the ridiculous mandates of their religion. If Ali wants to be free to obscure her appearance, there are many countries where such behavior is normal. If she wants to enjoy American society, then she must abide by the customs we have held since our country was founded. She should assimilate to American culture – not the other way around.
Do you agree? Sound off in the comments section below.