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Raghdaa Ali, an Arab American woman, is suing Advance America in Inkster, Michigan, crying discrimination over their no hat policy. She claims while attempting to get a cash advance loan, the store clerk refused to serve her because of the traditional headscarf she was wearing. The loan clerk demanded Ali â€œget outâ€ during her June stop at the store, citing Advance Americaâ€™s posted dress code policy of no hats. The sign is posted clearly on the door. She responded by saying, “â€œThis is our beliefs and our religious [beliefs] â€“ we cannot take it off.â€ The store clerk still refused to serve her, so she has decided to take legal action. If you ask me, this issue has nothing to do with discrimination. Advance America requires ALL Americans to remove hoods, hats, and even put long hair back behind their shoulders when getting an ID photo taken. The purpose is to get a clear picture that identifies someone without any confusion. A full headscarf wraps around a large part of a woman’s face. For any logical person to think wearing that would be acceptable when taking a photo I.D, especially at a check cashing business, is preposterous. It shouldn’t be allowed for security reasons alone. Ali said a â€œlack of [knowledge of] religious cultureâ€ is to blame here and that she has the same rights as anyone else to practice her religious beliefs. Fatina Abdrabboh, the director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, gave his view on the subject,
â€œIn this instance, we are talking about a religiously protected activity, we are talking about mistreatment towards somebody because of the way they look.â€
Advance America is not backing down from their stance. The company defended its policy in the following statement:
“For the safety of our customers and employees, Advance America requires the temporary removal of hoods, hats, sunglasses and other head coverings in order to be admitted into our centers. The safety and security of our customers and employees are our primary responsibilities and our policy ensures that those entering our centers are easily identifiable. The company respects all religious beliefs and serves all customers with dignity and respect. While Advance America understands the concerns expressed by the plaintiff we regret that she may have misinterpreted the intent of our policy, and we intend to vigorously defend the legitimate security purpose of our practice in court.”
An independently owned company should be able to enforce any dress code they feel is important. It is their business, created with their finances, with their name behind it. This is a perfect example of a frivolous lawsuit. She is wasting the time of everyone involved and probably costing this company a pretty penny while doing it.