The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today said that an Oklahoma survival equipment store has joined the growing number of businesses nationwide that have declared themselves "Muslim-free."
CAIR also questioned why, despite repeated requests for action, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has remained silent on the "clearly illegal" religious ban, which the Washington-based group compared to "whites only" businesses excluding African-Americans prior to the Civil Rights Movement.
The Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear store in Oktaha, Okla., has a sign in its window stating it is a "Muslim free establishment." The sign also states, "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone," which is the same language used by businesses that refused to serve African-American customers in the 1950s.
SEE: 'Muslim-Free' Sign at Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gear
"It is sad to see an Oklahoma business join the clearly illegal movement to deny service to American Muslims, and it is equally sad to note the silence of our government on this denial of religious freedom and equal access to public accommodations," said Veronica Laziure, civil rights director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter. "As a nation, we rightfully moved past 'whites only' businesses, but our national leaders seem unwilling to challenge 'Muslim-free' public facilities."
"We ask Americans who support constitutional rights to contact the businesses that announce these segregationist policies and urge their owners to follow the law by serving customers of all faiths and background," said CAIR-Oklahoma Executive Director Adam Soltani.
Brady Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma (ACLUOK), said: "If the ideas of public segregation and second-class citizenship belong anywhere, they belong in the past. Whether a business's policy is 'no coloreds' or 'no Muslims,' it is making the same choice to put hate and ignorance ahead of traditional American values like freedom and equality. It is important that we as citizens speak out against the growing movement to resurrect Jim Crow."
Businesses in New York, Kentucky, Florida, Arkansas and New Hampshire have already been declared "Muslim-free zones."
CAIR recently called on the U.S. Department of Justice to address the "illegal and un-American phenomenon."
SEE: CAIR Asks DOJ to Address Spread of 'Muslim-Free Zone' Business Declarations
Earlier this year, CAIR did receive a letter from the DOJ announcing a decision to "monitor" a Hot Springs, Ark., shooting range that has been declared a "Muslim-free zone" by its owner. No further action has been reported.
SEE: CAIR Welcomes DOJ Decision to 'Monitor' Arkansas Shooting Range Declared 'Muslim-Free Zone' by Owner
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
CONTACT: CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laziure, 405-430-9877, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Nabeelah Naeem, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, email@example.com
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
WASHINGTON, Aug. 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --