By Andrews on Tue, 03/02/2009 - 1:12pm
NEW YORK: A Muslim woman has allegedly been denied service in a bank in California for wearing an Islamic headscarf, prompting a civil rights group
to take up the issue with the US department of justice.
The Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) asked the department to determine whether a California bank violated a Muslim woman's civil rights when it denied her service because of wearing a religiously-mandated 'hijab'.
The council quoted the woman as saying that she was denied service at a Navy Federal Credit Union in San Diego, California, despite telling bank officials that she wears her head scarf for religious reasons.
Responding to the charge, the bank told CAIR that “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," it said, adding that it 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 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 US 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."