Zara fires staff for barring hijab wearing woman following social media outrage

27th Nov 2015

Nadine Osman

Spanish retailer giant Zara was forced to fire two employees from a Parisian branch on November 18 after social media outrage over a woman being denied entry for wearing a hijab.

It is unclear when the incident took place but the clip was uploaded on November 14, a day after the Paris terror attacks.

The 26 seconds video immediately prompted Muslims and civil right campaigners around the world to call for a boycott of the clothes shop, the hashag #boycottZara quickly trended on twitter.

“This is not okay. Share this with all your followers and encourage them to boycott Zara. #REPOST #boycottZara.” tweeted Wisconsin, USA based Asmaa.

Texas based Tara said, “#BoycottZARA Since no one should be stopped from entering merely because they wear a hijab. Stop the discrimination and stop Islamophobia. ”

In Bradford, England, Muhammad Ali tweeted “#BoycottZARA seems Zara don’t like Muslim’s money cause they choose to cover-up”.

In a statement Zara said: “We would like to sincerely apologise for what has happened. Our Country Head in France has personally contacted this customer to apologise for the incident and to express our utter disagreement with such actions, which are completely opposite to the principles of our Company. Both the security staff and the store manager have been sanctioned. Once again, we are deeply sorry about this.”

“Respect for diversity is the fundamental pillar on which Inditex (Zara’s parent company) was founded, with more than 140,000 employees worldwide representing a rich multitude of cultures and religions,” Zara said in a statement.

Meanwhile Jean-Jacques Salaun, head of Zara’s French stores, said, “This type of mentality is unheard of at Zara and there have never been instructions given out to act this way.”

Salaun said he offered the woman a full apology as soon as he heard about the incident.

Salaun said a security guard at the store in Plaisir, west of Paris, asked the woman to remove her headscarf. When the woman refused, she was not allowed to enter.

In the video, the staff member is heard telling the unidentified woman that people whose heads are covered with caps, hats, beanies, hoods and hooded veils can’t enter the store.

The woman is heard asking him if she can’t enter store wearing a hiab.

The man responds, “If things change, they’ll change but I don’t make the rules.”

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