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Woman claims Omaha bank made her remove...

Posted: 4:30 PM, Feb 17, 2016
Updated: 2016-02-17 18:23:33-05

A Muslim woman claims an Omaha bank denied her access, because of her religious beliefs.

Police were called to Security National Bank on 78th & Cass St. Tuesday afternoon, but didn't take a report.  Friends of the woman feel she was discriminated against for her beliefs.

The incident has been shared hundreds of times on Facebook since Tuesday evening.

The woman who we won't identify says she was coming to open a bank account at Security National Bank and stood in the breezeway to call her husband.  That's when she says the door was locked on her because she was told to remove her hijab, a scarf most Mulim women wear as part of their religion.  Multiple times she told them she couldn't take it off for religious reasons, but eventually did and even after, she says, they still wouldn't let her in.

Sarah Ouedraogo and Bre Sheikh, two of the woman's friends who are also part of the Islamic Center of Omaha, say they believe she was discriminated against and treated unfairly because they didn't understand it was an expression of religion, not a plot to carry out a crime.

"So I can obviously relate to the feelings that she had in that I'm peaceful, I'm a normal person, but everyone is perceiving me in another way,” Sheikh explained.

Security National Bank was robbed in December at gunpoint by two suspects who covered their faces.

In a statement, the bank expressed their side of the story, “Security National Bank respects everyone in our community. The incident that occurred yesterday at our 78th & Cass location was in no way intended to be discriminatory.  If it caused offense in any way, we are truly sorry.

For security reasons, our policy for all walk-in customers is to remove all face, eye and head coverings to allow our employees and security cameras to have a clear view of each person entering the bank. We routinely ask individuals to remove their hats, scarves and sunglasses prior to entering. This is done in an effort to keep our customers and employees safe.”

Ouedraogo says she understands the bank has a security policy but her friend’s hijab is mandatory in Islam.
“If it was a different person, different situation, different religion, if it was a nun going in would she have been denied? She wouldn't have been denied,” Oudraogo and Sheikh described.

The woman plans on filing a complaint with the Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission.

The ACLU has also been in contact with the woman.

The Islamic Center of Omaha has an open house so anyone can learn more about Islam on the 2nd Saturday of every month from 2-5pm.  For more information go to: http://www.Icomaha.org