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A retired 63-year-old U.S. citizen of South Asian heritage who lives in New Orleans reported to CAIR that on November 21, 2012, he and his wife stopped at the SUBWAY restaurant in Shreveport, La. Before ordering, they went to the restrooms in the facility. The husband exited the restroom first and went outside the restaurant to wait for his wife in anticipation of re-entering to order their food.
While his wife was still inside the restaurant, the victim attempted to re-enter, but was blocked at the door by a female SUBWAY employee who allegedly asked him "Are you Muslim?" When the victim replied that he is indeed Muslim, the SUBWAY employee reportedly responded, "We can't serve you." The employee then went inside the restaurant and locked the door behind her. Fearing for his wife's safety and distraught at the violation of his civil rights, the man called 911.
When the Shreveport Police Department arrived, an officer went inside the SUBWAY restaurant and later came out to tell the victim that the manager was "scared" of him and that he "better leave." [NOTE: The victim is 5'6" and weighs approximately 155 pounds. He wears an Islamic cap, called a "kufi," and a beard for religious reasons. His wife, a teacher, wears an Islamic headscarf, or "hijab."]
The Council on American-Islamic Relations has written to Subway requesting a full investigation of the incident, to issue an apology to the man and his wife and compensate them for the humiliation they endured. They are also requesting that franchise managers be given sensitivity training. The letter was also sent to the Shreveport Chief of Police.
Yes, it is disgusting that this ignorant employee took it upon herself to illegally bar the man from the establishment. Sadly, that sort of thing happens all the time. Being an American Muslim is to face daily deep-seated mistrust and blatant racism. That is nothing new.
The most troubling aspect of this story is the response from the police. These are the people who we rely on to serve and protect. Their decision to direct the man and his wife to leave should be the focus of this investigation. Louisiana law enforcement has a disturbing reputation for egregious treatment of minorities. We've seen examples of this time after time, most notoriously during the Katrina catastrophe. Attention needs to be given this story and pressure mounted on the State to reign in and stop the abuse of its citizens at the hands of their police.
Originally posted to Steven Payne on Thu Nov 29, 2012 at 11:15 AM PST.