United States’ Army reservist, Rajaée Fatihah has filed a lawsuit against Oklahoma’s Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range, after being denied service. Fatihah said that the staff welcomed his patronage, until he articulated that he was a Muslim. He said, “At that point they started treating me with suspicion.”
Storeowner, Robert Muise claimed that Fatihah’s religion was not a factor in his dismissal without service. He said that Fatihah was asked to leave because of his ‘belligerent’ behavior, not because of his expression of faith. He went on to say that, the sign is an expression of his first amendment right to free speech, stating, “The only thing the law prohibits is if somebody denies services strictly on the basis of religion, and that didn’t happen here”.
Fatihah, visited the facility after learning that the range had a sign expressing that it was a ”Muslim free establishment.” As an active board member of the Council on American-Islamic Relation (CAIR), Oklahoma chapter, he was concerned about the sign and the business’ implied refusal of service to those of Muslim faith.
American Civil Liberties and Union (ACLU), legal director, Brady Henderson said, “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”.
The ACLU and CAIR have expressed great concern of the large amount of similar issues related to anti-Muslim establishments that have escalated at various business establishments across the country. CAIR’s national director, Ibrahim Hooper said, “It’s one of those issues that’s tied to the overall rise of anti-Muslim bigotry in our society.”
It is impossible to prove with certainty, whether or not Fatihah was denied service based on his Muslim faith alone or if his pre-conceived discrimination from the business’ sign caused him to react inappropriately with the gun range staff. Similar to previously tried cases, this accusation will likely not result in prosecution, as it is a case of “He said, he said”.