CBS2: Woman Wearing Hijab Asked to Leave Citibank

Muslim Woman Wearing Hijab Asked to Leave Citibank

A Chicago woman says she was hassled by a security guard when she walked into a bank, because of something she was wearing. CBS 2’s Anne State reports that the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it’s considering a lawsuit.
The group says the woman deserves an apology.

Shani Smith says she is a recent convert to Islam. When she prays, she asks for guidance to walk the straight path. She says her faith helped her handle a tough situation at a Citibank at west 79th Street and Damen Avenue.

Smith says she was humiliated.

“I was hurt. I sat in my car and cried,” she said.

Smith says she was wearing a hijab. She wore a brown hoodie to cover her neck. In her religion, she says, modesty is important. She says the bank security guard got angry with her.

“He said, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t do any transactions here, ma’am, unless you remove your head gear.’ And I said, ‘excuse me?'” Smith said.

Smith says a bank employee still waited on her. She was not required to remove her hood. But she says the guard kept yelling the entire time. He allegedly said, “Don’t pull the religious card.”

“Everyone was really shocked,” Smith said.

A statement from Citibank said they are “…committed to treating customers with service that is respectful and responsive. We do not condone discrimination within our business.”

It also says Citibank security guards generally will ask customers to remove their hoods upon entering a branch for security reasons, but “under no circumstances would a customer be required to remove religious attire. We regret any inconvenience Ms. Smith experienced.”

Good enough?

Smith laughed and said, “no.” She thinks the guard needs sensitivity training.

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