CAIRO – An American Muslim army reservist has filed a lawsuit against an Oklahoma gun range that denied his service once he identified himself as a Muslim.
“Defendants run an explicitly segregated business,” the suit, filed Wednesday in US District Court, states.
“A sign posted on their business’s front window announces that Muslims are not permitted at Defendants’ stores and gun range.”
Raja’ee Fatihah, who works for the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, filed the lawsuit after he was denied service by Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha, Oklahoma.
The business posts a sign declaring the establishment as “Muslim-free”, a message copied by businesses in several states.
“Whether the sign in question says ‘no Muslims’ or whether it says ‘no coloreds’ or whether it says ‘no women’ or ‘no Christians’ or ‘no Buddhists’ … it is just as un-American and, fundamentally, it is just as wrong,” Brady Henderson, the legal director the Oklahoma chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, told The Guardian.
Fatihah, a board member of the Oklahoma chapter of advocacy group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), said he went to the gun range after learning about the sign.
He said the owners of the store were pleasant and welcoming until he told them he was Muslim.
“At that point, they started treating me with suspicion,” Fatihah said.
Robert Muise, with the American Freedom Law Center, represented the Florida gun shop owner and now is working for Chad Neal, the owner of the Oklahoma gun range.
Defending the business, Muise claimed that Fatihah was denied service because he was belligerent, not because of his religion.
“The only thing the law prohibits is if somebody denies services strictly on the basis of religion, and that didn’t happen here,” Muise said.
Fatihah denied Muise claims.
Muslims have been reporting numerous cases of discrimination by business owners due to their faith.
Formal complaints have been filed with the US Department of Justice regarding incidents in Arkansas, Florida and New Hampshire, said CAIR’s national director, Ibrahim Hooper.
“It’s one of those issues that’s tied to the overall rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in our society,” Hooper said.
Muslims make up 1% of America’s 322 million population, according to Pew Research center.
Anti-Muslim sentiments have reached an all-time high after the rise of the so-called Islamic State, formerly known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Moreover, the Republican presidential candidates, such as Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson, have added to increasing anti-Muslim sentiments.
Trump’s views on immigration have sparked controversy nationwide, especially his proposal to temporarily ban Muslims from entering the US.