Friday, May 06, 2016

Lawsuit Charges Restaurant With Discriminating Against Muslim Patrons

The Orange County Register reported yesterday on the messy facts surrounding a discrimination lawsuit filed by 7 Muslim women against a Laguna Beach, California restaurant.  On April 22, the women, most of whom were wearing hijabs, were sitting at a table on the uncrowded outdoor patio near the restaurant entrance.  They  were asked to leave for violating the restaurant's rule against remaining at a table more than 45 minutes after eating. The Register report fills in further details:
 “The women were singled out and targeted because they appeared to be Muslim,” said attorney Mohammad Tajsar. “Urth Caffe targeted these women as a way of cleansing their location of women that appeared to be Muslim to appease the Islamaphobia in a predominantly white Laguna Beach community.”
Shallom Berkman, owner of Urth Caffe, disputed the claims. His wife, Jilla, who is Muslim, was the one who advised management to call police after the women became rude toward restaurant staff, he said.
Urth Caffe announced Wednesday that it is being represented by the American Freedom Law Center, a firm that specializes in faith-based lawsuits.
“Urth Caffe did not discriminate against the women who have filed this fraudulent lawsuit," said David Yerushalmi, co-founder and senior counsel for the center. “The lead plaintiff (Sara Farsakh) in the frivolous lawsuit is ... a college-age activist for Palestinian causes. We intend to sue Farsakh and her co-conspirators for trespass and to seek damages.”