La-Fleu Mohamed, a Muslim woman wearing full face veil, claims she was refused service at a gas station
La-Fleu Mohamed, a Muslim woman from Florida, who is wearing a full face veil, has claimed she was refused service at a Chevron gas station.
La-Fleu Mohamed said the cashier refused to accept her business unless she could see her face.
The Muslim woman claimed she was told to leave the gas station in Boca Raton, Florida, and was left “humiliated”.
Chevron, owners of the gas station, said they have launched an investigation into the incident after La-Fleu Mohamed said she was the victim of religious discrimination.
A spokesman for Chevron confirmed the incident took place around Halloween.
The company’ spokesman Brent Tippen said: “We spoke with our employee cashier and reviewed the store surveillance tape. The incident occurred within a few days of Halloween – a time when retailers are prone to increased theft from persons wearing masks and other facial coverings.
“In light of this concern, we acknowledge that our employee did ask Ms Mohamed to remove her veil for security purposes; when she refused, she was denied service.
“We fully believe that our employee acted without the intent to violate Ms Mohamed’s religious principles and any suggestion that discrimination is acceptable at Chevron is completely false.
“Chevron employs 60,000 people from countries across the globe. Our Human Rights policy requires that we treat all people with respect and dignity.
“Regardless, we regret the misunderstanding. We have apologized twice to Ms Mohamed and encouraged our employees to be more aware of potential diversity issues.”
La-Fleu Mohamed, who was wearing a niqab, or full face veil, claims she wanted to buy $20 worth of gas.
When she approached the cashier to hand over her money she said she was told “you can’t come in here dressed like that”.
La-Fleu Mohamed said: “I was very shocked.
“I said <<this is my religious right>> and she said <<well, I need to see your face>>.”
La-Fleu Mohamed said she asked the cashier again for gas and the woman “just threw my money back at me”.
The woman left the store after she said she was “humiliated” and called 911.
When police arrived she was escorted back inside, but was still refused service.
The South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations have taken up her case and submitted a complaint to the Florida Commission on Human Rights.
La-Fleu Mohamed, who came to the United States from the Caribbean in the 80’s, said she converted to Islam 12 years ago.
“I’m a very polite person, I always say hi to everyone I see,” La-Fleu Mohamed said.