Teen told to remove hijab in McDonald’s as it posed ‘a security threat’

28th Dec 2017
Teen told to remove hijab in McDonald’s as it posed ‘a security threat’

MacDonald’s security guard blocked a hijab-wearing woman from stepping towards the tills to order and asked she remove her hijab first (Photo: Twitter)

Harun Nasrullah

A Muslim woman has criticised McDonald’s apology after she was told to remove her hijab (headscarf) because it posed “a security threat”.

The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, was approached by a black security guard at a branch in Holloway Road in north London on November 30. The clip showed him blocking her from stepping towards the tills to order her food.Eventually, another customer stepped in and told the employee he could not stop her from entering the restaurant.

McDonald’s says it has suspended the security guard and is investigating the matter. It added that the branch was managed and owned by a franchise.

In a statement to The Muslim News, a McDonald’s spokesman added: “We are deeply sorry that this happened, and are taking the matter very seriously, addressing the situation with both the restaurant and security firm involved.

“As a business operating in diverse communities across the country, we want to make it absolutely clear that we welcome people of all faiths and do not have any policy which restricts or prevents anyone wearing a hijab, or any other religious attire, in our restaurants.”

But student dismissed the explanation saying it was “not enough” and accused the fast food giants of shifting accountability on the security firm.

Speaking to BBC Asian Network the 19-year-old said, “They basically said that the security guard was employed by a third-party company and so what they’re trying to say is, ‘We don’t condone his conduct but we can’t be held responsible because we’re not the people who hire them’.

But if you’re going to use a separate company you need to be aware of what kind of policies they have, especially in a city like London.” In mobile footage, the security guard can be heard saying: “If you just don’t mind taking it off,” to which the student responds: “It’s not just a matter of taking it off, I wear it for religious reasons and I’m not ashamed of it, this is a hate crime.”

She adds: “You would expect someone of colour to be more sympathetic to a minority that is persecuted. That just reflects how current this issue is – almost anyone could actually believe that I am a security threat. ”

McDonald’s issued another apology. Its UK Chief Executive Paul Pomroy said in a statement: “I am deeply sorry that this happened, and am taking the matter very seriously.

We welcome people of all faiths and do not have any policy which restricts or prevents anyone wearing a hijab, or any other religious attire, in our restaurants.” Adding, “The restaurant involved is managed and owned by Amir Atefi, a franchisee. Mr Atefi is proud of his diverse workforce, and was upset and concerned to hear how one of his valued customers has been treated.”

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