Muslim-American woman kicked out of Family Dollar store for wearing hijab and niqab

Except that it is still religious discrimination to not allow these practices that occurred maaaany centuries before this shitty chain started their dumb policy.

You managed to name yourself skeptic and not pseudoskeptic for some odd reason!

Ps: how on earth is a policy against robbers going to keep anyone from robbing a store? You haven’t thought this through at all.

The problem is that niqabs and burkas are designed to dehumanize people, to make women not just objects but into amorphous comodities rather than individual human beings.


And yet you feel nothing for their autonomy either.


Have you heard of video cameras? They don’t “keep anyone from robbing a store” either. Have you told your bank and local convenience stores that they need to get rid of them and that they “haven’t thought this through at all”?


Autonomy != being able do anything you want in someone else’s private business. If my religion has rules against usury I don’t get to demand a bank give me an interest free loan. Yet clearly charging interest is “discriminatory” against such a religious belief .

Just because a rule with a legitimate secular purpose may impact someone’s religious practice does not make it illegally discriminatory or against their “autonomy.”

Also, I don’t see any rebuttal by you of the deliberately dehumanizing aspect of full face veils.


Well, they do help in identifying people committing crimes with surveillance cameras. I’ve been asked to remove hats and back packs at stores and have seen no hoodie signs for this very reason.

Though none of those things are the same as religious garments, so I am not suggesting they should be held to the same standard.

I do contend though that I think covering one’s face IS culturally significant. Unless there is a good reason for it (really cold, skiing, dust mask, germ mask etc), someone masked makes people uncomfortable. Part of this is popular culture and real life criminals and terrorists using masks or hiding faces to do bad things. There is also a primal thing because facial expressions do a LOT of silent communicating. Masked faces make it much more difficult to determine if someone is friendly or not. If 3 guys came into a store with bandanas or their shirts pulled up, wouldn’t that send you some alert signals?

Now don’t mistake this with condoning the manager’s actions. Obviously religious garb such as this, even if uncommon, should be familiar enough for one to override their uncontrollable reactions. And most likely Islamophobia played a big part.

My point is that for most people hidden faces have a psychological impact that one can’t fully control, and have to consciously override. Remember it wasn’t that long ago we wore war masks and paint and that was done for a reason (faces are special).


Or not! Property works exactly like religion, since it only exists if people believe in it.

“I believe that I have a special relationship with this object, so people must respect this"
is in practice not very different from
"I believe that I have a special relationship with the universe, so people must respect this”

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I’m going to quote this in its entirety, instead of excerpting from and linking to it, because you need to read all of it.


I am Zunera Ishaq. I am a mother. I am university educated. I believe that the environment needs saving and I try to do my part by joining campaigns to plant trees. Chasing my boys in the snow is one of the things I love most about winter. I believe we should strive to give back to others, and for me that means volunteering: at women’s shelters, for political candidates or at schools.

I also wear a niqab. And according to my prime minister, that is all you need to know about me to know that I am oppressed.

It’s precisely because I won’t listen to how other people want me to live my life that I wear a niqab. Some of my own family members have asked me to remove it. I have told them that I prefer to think for myself.

My desire to live on my own terms is also why I have chosen to challenge the government’s decision to deny me citizenship unless I take off my niqab at my oath ceremony. I have taken my niqab off for security and identity reasons in every case where that’s been required of me, such as when I have taken a driver’s license photo or gone through airport security. I will take my niqab off again before the oath ceremony without protest so I can be properly identified. I will not take my niqab off at that same ceremony for the sole reason that someone else doesn’t like it, even if that person happens to be Stephen Harper.

I am not looking for Mr. Harper to approve my life choices or dress. I am certainly not looking for him to speak on my behalf and “save” me from oppression, without even ever having bothered to reach out to me and speak with me.

And by the way, if he had bothered to ask me why I wear a niqab instead of making assumptions, I would have told him that it was a decision I took very seriously after I had looked into the matter thoroughly. I would tell him that aside from the religious aspect, I like how it makes me feel: like people have to look beyond what I look like to get to know me. That I don’t have to worry about my physical appearance and can concentrate on my inner self. That it empowers me in this regard.

While I recognize that it’s not for everyone, it is for me. To me, the most important Canadian value is the freedom to be the person of my own choosing. To me, that’s more indicative of what it means to be Canadian than what I wear.

I am looking, however, for Mr. Harper to govern according to the law of Canada and not according his own personal preference. That is why I was very happy when the Federal Court ruled in my favour and found that the policy was not in line with the government’s own Citizenship Act.

And now that Mr. Harper is so busy speaking about me in public, I am looking for him to include me in the discussion.

Zunera Ishaq has been a permanent resident of Canada since 2008. She has put her citizenship ceremony on hold since last year, in order to ask the Federal Court to judge the legality of the 2012 Conservative policy requiring her to remove her niqab for that purpose. The Federal Court found that the policy was illegal and ordered that it be struck down.

ETA: Giving a woman the choice not to wear something their religion requires is empowering. Telling them that they do not, or should not, have the choice to wear something because “It dehumanizes you” is not empowering, it is disempowering.

ETA#2: I would also like to add that I am so glad that we kicked that hateful robot, who had the oil companies so far up his ass that when he sneezed his gate stopped creaking, out of the Prime Minister’s office.


I suspect the store owner was xenophobic, she could have just pulled the customer aside and said “I know this is your faith, but look at it from my point of view, if anyone else came in here with their face covered it would be for a robbery.” Niqab is a loophole that thieves could exploit (though realistically thieves who want to knock over a dollar store probably haven’t put much thought into it, and will just use ski masks or hosiery.) So yes, the store owner was at least being paranoid.

So what’s the solution? We can’t expect people who are fearful or xenophobic to just magically change into open-minded and accepting neighbors by pointing to the Constitution. Someone has to come halfway. I know the onus isn’t on the customer to prove she’s not a criminal (or terrorist), but if she had taken the owner aside and said “I am not your enemy, I am a paying customer, I know my veil frightens you but if you get to know me and I am a regular customer then it won’t be an issue.” Ironically, that’s probably the (ahem) Christian thing to do.

So you can verify that it’s not actually a “high crime area”? I don’t know myself, which is why I said “if.”


Don’t quite see how forbidding people from covering their faces keeps them from conducting an armed robbery.

“Excuse me, you need to take off your-”

*Pulls out gun.*


“Oh. Okay then.”

I mean, I guess it keeps people from lingering inside while they nerve up, or makes their face available for cameras in the event that they’re shoplifting. But I’ve never heard of anyone calling the police over a lifted item unless some brazen shit was going on, and I’ve definitely never heard of cops sifting through surveillance footage over dollar items, especially in fucking Gary (One time murder capital of the US). Seriously. Have you been to Gary? The whole fucking city is a high crime area. (Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but it’s got a really bad crime rate).

I realize clerks make people take off motorcycle helmets etc. But it’s pretty pointless as a security measure in general. Think about it critically.


I think the reason is 2 fold.

  1. Cameras and evidence (which is the main reason people wear masks for crimes). Probably the main reason. These can be a deterrent.

  2. Masks have some very powerful psychological effects. I will try to find some sources later, but even sun glasses can provide an affect. Think about two cops, one with and one with out sunglasses. All things being equal, who do you find more intimidating? Masks provide anonymity allowing one to do things they wouldn’t normally do (like the whole internet).

Of course not covering a face DOESN’T STOP everything, but I imagine it has SOME effect. At least for evidence.(Again talking general face covering, not religious coverings.)


Can a store owner refuse to serve someone in KKK garb? I would if I owned a store and hooded robe wearing klansman came in. I wouldn’t serve them.

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“Asshole” is not a protected class.
“Religious minority” generally is.


Hell, we could tell that just by looking at her face!

They are not mutually exclusive. The KKK is a Christian organization - or more precisely, an organization made up of people who consider themselves Christian. And a minority Christian sect could easily say that discrimination and the wearing of pointy hoods is integral to their religion. And if you demand that the niqabs and burqas must be allowed in businesses, then a religious sect of white nationalists could demand that their pointy white hoods with full face coverings must be allowed, too.

So, again, religion must not be privileged. The same rights that apply to us all must apply equally to people who are religious. So if full face Halloween masks and balaclavas are allowed, then definitely the niqabs and burqas should be allowed on the exact same basis. But if they are banned, then that applies to full face coverings whether you are Islamic are not.


Let me rephrase the question then… Would it be okay for me to not serve members of Fred Phelps’ " God Hates Fags" church. Yeah, they are assholes, but they also are members of a religious group. And I certainly would not serve them. And according to public accommodation laws I’d be in violation and probably get sued and lose.

To me these types of quasi-religion and religious ideas represent racism, homophobia and sexism. I don’t wish to participate.

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I’m not so sure about that. You’d still be refusing to serve them for a number of reasons besides them being religious. For instance, they’re belligerent assholes, their presence is likely to hinder business, they’d likely only be there specifically to harm your business, they likely would be upsetting your customers, and they’d likely be breaking general rules of conduct in your store regardless of whatever they believe in. Because they’re generally shitty hateful people we don’t need to discriminate against them on any religious grounds.


If your business is a public accommodation, then no, probably not. You can’t kick them out just because of their religious views, no matter how much their views may offend you. Overall, that’s a good thing because that means that business run by people like them can’t kick you out for your religious views, either.

However, if their behavior in the business was against your regular business rules, such as if they were being loud in a way that you consistently prohibit and evenly enforce, then you could kick them out for their behavior, but not for their beliefs.


And as has been pointed out in the rest of the thread, it’s not even a requirement of Islam. The requirement in Islam is the same as in other Judeo-Christian sects: people are to dress modestly. It’s why Pentecostals wear long skirts (aside from hiding the leg hair), and why Amish and Mennonites wear head bonnets.

The town I live in has women who wear niqabs, even in weather like this week when it’s been 95 and something around 99% humidity, and It’s something that, as an outsider, I always scratch my head at. It might seem modest to them, but to me, it draws attention to them. The “requirement” comes from partly from a religious-ish mandate, and partly from the misogynist-as-fuck demand that young women not wear tank tops to school: because, oh, men can’t control themselves, so ladies, you have to cover up so the men can tame their animal urges! So forgive me if I rage a bit if I see a woman, out in the sun on a hot & humid day, wearing a black niqab while her asshole husband is standing their in his shorts and tshirt. I live in a college town. I’m used to seeing young, attractive women wearing very little clothing at times. It’s okay. Just wear a modest shirt and pants. I won’t try to rape you if I can see your hair, for God’s sake.

The manager kicking someone out for wearing a hijab is, of course, a different matter entirely, because that’s just stupid.