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Back in August, we wrote about a Florida gun range proclaiming itself "Muslim-free" and promptly being sued. We wrote how this kind of religious discrimination was probably a bad idea, from a moral, legal, and profitable standpoint. Apparently Chad and Nicole Neal over at Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Muskogee County, Oklahoma aren't regular readers.
First, Save Yourself posted a sign out front that declared the shooting range "Muslim-free." Then it denied access to Raja'ee Fatihah, a U.S. Army reservist, an avid shooter, and a Muslim. Unsurprisingly, Fatihah is suing Save Yourself for discrimination.
Yes, business owners, there are some instances when you can legally refuse service to customers. But basing that refusal on a customer's religious beliefs is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title II of the Act prohibits businesses open to the public from discrimination or segregation based on religion.
This is exactly what Fatihah claims happened when he went to Save Yourself last October. After filling out a liability waiver, Fatihah informed Nicole Neal he was Muslim. According to the lawsuit, both Nicole and Chad Neal then "armed themselves with handguns and refused to allow Fatihah to use the gun range," and asked if he was there to commit an act of violence or "jihad." When he's not on active military duty, Fatihah is an investigator for the State of Oklahoma, with previous stints in the University of Oklahoma Police Department and the university's ROTC program.
The Neals' lawyer, Robert J. Muise, claims they asked Fatihah to leave because he became belligerent. "Not only do our clients have a right to refuse to serve someone they believe to be a public safety risk," Muise told the Guardian, "they have an obligation to their other customers, employees, and the community to do so."
Fatihah denies that he was aggressive before being asked to leave. His lawsuit claims the Neals accused him of being there to murder them, on their belief that Sharia law requires him to do so. Fatihah is asking for an injunction against the range's ban on Muslim customers, as well as monetary damages.
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