LONDON – A Muslim teenager who was told to remove her hijab before entering a McDonald’s because it posed a “security threat” said that the restaurant’s apology was not enough in the face of the rising hateful atmosphere.
“They basically said that the security guard was employed by a third-party company and so what they’re trying to say is, ‘We don’t condone his conduct but we can’t be held responsible because we’re not the people who hire them,’” the 19-year-old Muslim student, who wants to remain anonymous, told BBC Asian Network.
“But if you’re going to use a separate company you need to be aware of what kind of policies they have, especially in a city like London.”
The fast food giant made an official apology after the 19-year-old woman filmed a security guard telling her to take off her headscarf or leave the restaurant.
In video footage recorded on her mobile phone, a security guard can be heard saying, “If you just don’t mind taking it off,” to which the 19-year-old responds, “It’s not just a matter of taking it off, I wear it for religious reasons and I’m not ashamed of it.”
“I live down the street,” she adds. “This is a hate crime.”
McDonald’s UK chief executive, Paul Pomroy, said in a statement, “I am deeply sorry that this happened, and am taking the matter very seriously.”
“We welcome people of all faiths and do not have any policy which restricts or prevents anyone wearing a hijab, or any other religious attire, in our restaurants.”
“The restaurant involved is managed and owned by Amir Atefi, a franchisee,” he said, adding that Atefi is “proud of his diverse workforce, and was upset and concerned to hear how one of his valued customers has been treated.”