A Muslim woman who was asked to remove a traditional face covering, or niqab, by a shopping mall guard, has filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination against the guard and the mall’s owners.
Wakeelah Salaam, of Elizabeth, has filed a lawsuit against Bridgewater Commons mall, its owner, General Growth Properties, its mall security vendor, IPC International Corporation, and Marc Krause, a former mall guard.
On May 20, 2012, Salaam was shopping at Bridgewater Commons with her two young children when she claims she was “victimized, harassed, intimidated, insulted and subjected to unlawful discrimination” by Krause, according to the complaint.
The guard instructed Salaam to remove her traditional face-covering known as a niqab, which he called a “mask,” claiming it was against mall policy, according to the complaint.
Salaam claims that Krause violated state discrimination laws when he “intimidated (Salaam) further by placing himself in extremely close proximity to (Salaam) and by motioning as if he were going to remove the niqab itself.”
“She was genuinely devastated by this incident,” Pamela Lynn Brause of Brause, Brause & Ventrice, LLC, who filed the suit on behalf of Salaam, said. “She was in the mall, a place of major commerce, with her kids, and she was really humiliated and embarrassed.”
“I can’t speak as a Muslim, but I assure you her feelings are sincere,” Brause said. “You’re not expecting prejudice when you walk into a place of commerce, and she felt very threatened, violated, and embarrassed.”