Do Muslims have the right to wear full religious garb while shopping at a retail outlet in a high-crime area?
That’s a question being asked after a woman cloaked from head to toe was asked to leave a Family Dollar Store in Gary, Indiana.
Thirty-two-year-old Sarah Safi said she had just walked into the store when she heard a woman telling her, “Ma’am, you need to take that off your face or you need to leave my store,'” she told ABC 7 Eyewitness News in Chicago.
Safi is a native of Texas who moved to Gary, Indiana, a few years ago. She said she told the clerk, who later identified herself as the store’s manager, that she wears the traditional niqab and hijab for religious reasons.
“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 heard saying on the video, which Safi began recording after the confrontation began.
“I told her this country is a country of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and I have a right to wear whatever I want,” Safi told the television station.
“Have a blessed day,” the employee says on the video.
“I’m really saddened. I was born here, raised here all my life and I’ve never been to an establishment and been treated like this,” Safi said.
Safi said in the television interview that she simply wants an apology.
“I would like to sit with her and speak to her about what I believe in, because maybe if she heard and really listened to what I believe, it I would open her heart,” she said.
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