NEWS

Kansas City Gun Range Denies Muslim Woman Entry Because Of Her Hijab

"Hats, caps, bandanas, or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward.” She was told by the range's manager that keeping her scarf would pose a safety risk.

By

Elizabeth Aziz

July 20, 2020

1:00 pm

A Kansas City area gun range is under fire for violating the civil rights of a local Muslim woman by not allowing her into the facility unless she removed her hijab earlier this year.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is demanding the U.S. Department of Justice launch an investigation into the denial of services by Frontier Justice during an incident earlier this year at one of their gun ranges located at 800 NE Jones Industrial Dr in Lee Summit, a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri.

Rania Barakat shared her experience in a video conference on Facebook Live with CAIR this past Thursday. The incident, which took place on January 1, unfolded after an hour long wait on  a busy New Year’s Day out with her husband, who had used the range in the past with friends. When the couple approached the cashier to pay, they were told by staff that she must remove her hijab in order to use the facilities. 

Barakat stated that she’d shot at other gun ranges in the past without any issue. Frontier Justice employees cited the company’s dress code policy, which is listed on its website, “Hats, caps, bandanas, or any other head covering will be removed in the facility, except baseball caps facing forward.” She was told by the range’s manager that keeping her scarf would pose a safety risk. The couple left once it became clear they weren’t going to be let in.

Afterwards, Barakat said she went online to leave a review only to discover that other hijabis in her community had encountered a similar experience at the range, some she even knew personally. 

“The law demands equal access to public accommodations regardless of your race, color, religion and national origin,” said CAIR attorney Zanah Ghalawanji. “Frontier Justice has disregarded and violated the civil rights protections by actively excluding Muslim women who wear the hijab from their business.”

The company, whose website denotes its core values of “Faith, Family and Freedom,” has facilities in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas. Their site also makes note of their involvement in Christian education, which leads one to believe they would be more sensitive to issues of religious expression. 

“To have this happen to me personally, it was very sad and, you know, frustrating,” Barakat said. “And I would never want anyone to go through what I went through.”

In Thursday’s conference, Moussa Elbayoumy, chairman of CAIR’s Kansas board, mentioned that the chapter had received other reports around the same time from other hijabis who were also told they had to remove their scarves in order to shoot at the same location. He stated that the range’s policy isn’t based on any legitimate safety concerns, and is deliberately meant to exclude Muslim women.

“Frontier Justice, you know, says they value faith, family and freedom,” Zanah Ghalawanji, a CAIR National attorney said in the conference. “That appears to be their motto, but, however, their actions tell us that they have shown otherwise.”

You can read CAIR’s letter to the Department of Justice in full here or donate to support Barakat’s legal defense via their official fundraiser.

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