How 7 Muslim Women Changed A Restaurant's Policy towards Religious Discrimination

How 7 Muslim Women Changed A Restaurant’s Policy towards Religious Discrimination

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On Friday, April 16, 2016, a group of seven Muslim women (six of whom were veiled) were having dinner at Urth Caffe in South California. They were having coffee and dessert when out of nowhere an employee asked them to leave the premises because of the restaurant’s 45-minute stay policy during peak hours. The ladies had been there for only 1 hour, and there were several empty tables around.

If reading this made your blood more, you’ll be shocked to know that a group of non-muslim ladies sitting in a nearby table who told the Muslim women that they themselves have been here for a long time and have not been asked to leave.

The Muslim women, who all either lived or were born in Orange County, refused to leave on grounds of them just being “visibly Muslim” which lead to Urth Caffe’s manager calling the police and told them the ladies were refusing the restaurants request to leave. The women, accompanied by the officers, very respectfully left after having paid their bill. Their next move was suing the restaurant for discrimination for being kicked out of their Laguna Beach location for being “visibly Muslim”

In July of 2016, Urth Cafe countersued the women alleging that they were trespassing! Both parties have been in trial, in and out of courts for the past 2 years.

Just this past week, the lawsuits were dropped by both the Muslim group of women and Urth Caffe after reaching a settlement which you will be happy to know is quite fair.

The settlement requires Urth Caffe to hold diversity and sensitivity training for area supervisors, at its human resources headquarters in Los Angeles along with on-site training sessions for all employees.

They will also need to amend their seating policy to more clearly inform customers on written placards placed on patio tables that when there are 10 or more customers queuing at the register, the 45-minute seating time limit will be enforced. This new adjusted policy will be only applied to the patio tables and after the time limit is reached, customers will have the option to either leave, share their table with other customers or place additional orders.

And if you think they got what was coming to them, you’ll be pleased to know that Urth offered free drinks and desserts to all customers at its Laguna Beach location last Saturday to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, which also was part of the settlement.

 

This goes to show you how powerful our voices are. Just seven Muslim women (a minority by all means in Orange County) were able to change an entire coffee and tea cafe chain’s policy to be more respectful of everyone, no matter their religious beliefs or their choice of clothing. So, next time you think your voice won’t matter, just think of these brave seven Muslim ladies and how they stood up for what is right, no matter the odds.

An animal lover at heart, Hanaa likes to think she’s the daughter of Mother Earth, with her midnight talks with the Moon and her summer home on Pluto. A soul that believes everything has a heart . Yoga, cats, horse back riding, knitting and books for days are what fills up Hanaa’s days. Founder of Luna Wear (@lunawear.eg) where she knits her connection with the Universe into beautiful handmade bags and more. She shares her favorite DIYs, reviews and healthy way of life on her blog GeminiMoonTree.com