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US shooting range made Muslim woman remove hijab: Lawsuit

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A Muslim woman practices at a gun range in Tampa, Fla. (Photo via The New York Times)

A firearms store and gun range in the US state of Missouri refused to allow a Muslim woman to use a shooting range unless she removed her hijab, a lawsuit says.

A Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization and an Independence law firm filed a federal lawsuit against Frontier Justice in Lee’s Summit, arguing the gun range’s dress code discriminates against Muslim women who wear the religious head covering.

The lawsuit by the Council on American-Islamic Relations Legal Defense Fund as well as Baldwin and Vernon Law was filed in the US District Court for the Western District of Missouri on Tuesday on behalf of Rania Barakat.

The suit also names Frontier Justice’s owners Mike and Bren Brown as defendants.

“Defendants Mike and Bren Brown were responsible for devising, implementing, and instructing employees and agents to carry out the discriminatory practices and policies described above at the establishment known as Frontier Justice,” the lawsuit said.

“Consistent with Defendant Mike and Bren Brown’s instructions and their headwear ban, in numerous instances since at least 2016, Defendants have denied Muslims who wear hijab entry to Frontier Justice, based on violations of their dress code policy, while allowing similarly situated individuals who wear headcaps or other clothing that similarly covers the neck and head to enter their facility and access to their services.”

The lawsuit says when Barakat and her husband visited the range on Jan. 1, a cashier told her that she had to remove her hijab because “hats, caps, bandanas, or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward”.

Lawyers say that the range’s manager also said the reason was that shrapnel can cause the hijab and skin to burn, adding the manager was aggressive and loud and that the couple left the range.

“The next day, Ms. Barakat and her husband attended another gun range, and discussed the situation. Employees at the new gun range said that Frontier Justice had a reputation for turning away Muslims,” the suit alleges. “They told Ms. Barakat and her husband that they were more than welcome to shoot with her hijab any time.”

The lawsuit cites Yelp reviews from other Muslims who said they were denied service because of their hijabs, in spite of posts on Frontier Justice’s social media accounts which show people wearing winter hats and scarves on necks.

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