• U.S.

Muslim Women Sue California Restaurant for Discrimination

2 minute read

Seven Muslim women are suing a southern California restaurant for discrimination after they were kicked out of the eatery while dining in April.

The women—six of whom had been wearing hijabs—were told to leave Urth Caffe in Laguna Beach because employees said they had violated a policy that limits seating to 45 minutes, the Guardian reported on Wednesday.

“What began as a night out with some friends ended as a painful and embarrassing reminder of what it is like to be visibly Muslim – even in liberal California,” one of the women, Sara Farsakh, 29, wrote in a Facebook post soon after the April 22 incident. “By visibly Muslim, I mean women who wear the hijab, or headscarf.”

Farsakh also posted videos showing police arriving to escort them out of the restaurant and another showing several empty tables in the cafe as they left.

“Urth Caffe categorically denies any and all claims of racial or religious discrimination against Sara Farsakh,” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post on April 26. “While a full investigation is still on-going, it appears that Ms. Farsakh and her friends violated company policies and that the staff at Urth Caffe in Laguna properly and justifiably applied company procedures.”

The restaurant has previously been the site of anti-Muslim crimes, the Guardian reported, citing the law suit. In March and April, some people threw eggs at Muslim customers in the restaurant, slashed their tires and shouted racial epithets.

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Write to Katie Reilly at Katie.Reilly@time.com