California, 19 Rajab 1437/27 April 2016 (MINA) -A group of women said they were kicked out of a chic California cafe last weekend for being Muslim, the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Tuesday.
“CAIR-LA is investigating the matter and is very concerned about the possible bias motive involved in this incident in wake of recent events in which Muslims were kicked off a plane or refused service simply for allegedly being Muslim,” Hussam Ayloush, executive director of CAIR’s Los Angeles chapter, said in a statement, as Huffington reported.
“No customer should have to face the humiliation of being kicked out or refused service if they are compliant with the business’ policies,” Ayloush added.
In a Sunday Facebook post that has been shared thousands of times, Sara Farsakh claimed staff at Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach, California, of singling out her and her friends because they were wearing hijabs.
“What began as a night out with some friends ended as a painful and embarrassing reminder of what it is like to be visibly Muslim—even in liberal California,” Farsakhwrote. “By visibly Muslim, I mean women who wear the hijab, or headscarf.”
Farsakh says she and her friends arrived at Urth Caffe on Saturday around 7:15 p.m. and sat at a table outside. Their food arrived 20 or 30 minutes later. When they were finished with their meals, some in the group went to the counter to order coffee and desert.
“At about 8:00 pm, an employee, Tino, came to our table and told us that we needed to leave the restaurant within the next ten minutes,” Farsakh wrote. “Tino explained that they were anticipating a busy evening and needed to clear tables and that per their policy anyone that had been there for over 45 minutes was required to share or give up their table to other customers.”
The Urth Caffe policy in question — a photo of which Farsakh posted to Facebook — says that “during our busy rush times, if you have already been at a table for 45 minutes or longer, please share or give your table to someone who is waiting. If tables are available, you are certainly welcome to enjoy Urth for as long as you desire.”
According to Farsakh, there were plenty of open tables both inside and outside the restaurant. In a video she posted to Facebook, which as been viewed over 250,000 times, she walks around the cafe, filming empty table after empty table.
Farsakh also says that the line to place an order was short, and that on previous visits to Urth Caffe, she had stayed “well over 45 minutes” without being asked to give up her table.
“We told Tino that our orders had just arrived and that we couldn’t reasonably finish and leave within 10 minutes,” she wrote. “He said it didn’t matter and we had to leave.”
“The party on the table next to us (a group of white women) overheard our conversation and were shocked,” Farsakh added. “They told us they had been sitting far longer than we had but had never been told to prepare to leave.”
Another group of women, according to a statement from CAIR Tuesday, had been sitting at their table for approximately 4 hours and had not been asked to go.(T/R04/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)