News

Actions

Bank that made woman remove religious...

Posted: 4:12 PM, Feb 18, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-18 19:19:58-05

The fallout continues over an incident where a Muslim woman is told to take off her hijab to enter the Security National Bank at 78th & Cass St.

The Omaha Police Department says they responded to the incident at noon on Tuesday.

A Facebook post created a lot of buzz about the controversial situation.

The woman, who KMTV won’t identify, wanted to enter the Security National Bank to open a bank account.  She said she called her husband while standing in the breezeway when someone locked her out because she wouldn't remove her hijab, a headscarf often worn by Muslim women..  She explained she wears it for religious reasons 3 times and then removed it when, she says, they still wouldn't let her in.

The bank says they frequently ask customers to remove headwear or anything covering their face for security reasons.  In December they were robbed at gunpoint by two people who covered their faces.

Mary-Beth Muskin is the Regional Director with the Anti-Defamation League of the Plains States Regional Office.  She says their security policies should be revised.

“We have to understand what we're looking at to make policies and procedures that are thoughtful and respectful of all community members,” Muskin explained.

The bank may have violated city law.  Under the "Place of Public Accommodation" Ordinance any business offering goods or services to the public can't discriminate against anyone because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, and other categories.

"I think that our laws are there to be guidelines as we really work at traversing this slippery slope at how we make that balance of security and respect,” Muskin described.

A statement KMTV received from Security National Bank said they didn't intend to discriminate and were sorry if it caused offense in any way.

The Omaha Police Department is not investigating if the law was broken because a report hasn't been filed with them yet.

ADL says they do anti-biased workshops, and work with businesses to review these sorts of policies.