“A U.S. Army reservist from Tulsa (was) asked to leave a gun range in eastern Oklahoma,” abcnews.go.com reports, “after identifying himself as a Muslim sued the owners Wednesday, the latest in a series of cases across the nation alleging anti-Islamic discrimination.” To be clear, I think the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range are a bunch of bozos for banning Muslims. If nothing else, as our resident war hero Jon Wayne Taylor will tell you, Muslims have fought beside American troops. And this particular one is an American-born U.S. soldier. All that said . . .
Twenty-nine-year-old Raja’ee Fatihah [above], an employee with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services, went into the range with the intention of tweaking the owners. Maybe.
Fatihah, who is a board member with the Muslim advocacy group Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Oklahoma chapter, said he went to the gun range after learning about the sign. He said the owners of the store were pleasant and welcoming until he told them he was Muslim.
“At that point, they started treating me with suspicion,” Fatiha said . . .
Robert Muise, with the American Freedom Law Center, represented the Florida gun shop owner and now is working for Chad Neal, the owner of the Oklahoma gun range.
Muise said Fatihah was denied service because he was belligerent, not because of his religion, and that the sign declaring the shop a “Muslim-free” business is protected free speech.
“The only thing the law prohibits is if somebody denies services strictly on the basis of religion, and that didn’t happen here,” Muise said.
Fatihah denies that he acted belligerently.
Fatihah has a slightly different story at (where else?) huffingtonpost.com.
When I went to the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range last October, I wasn’t looking for any trouble. As an active Army reservist, I shoot regularly to maintain my proficiency in marksmanship. Like the proud Oklahomans of various faiths, I also enjoy it as a hobby that has nothing to do with my religion. When I got to the counter, I signed the waiver and was preparing to pay my fee as part of standard procedure. But the transaction was never completed because as soon as I identified myself as Muslim, things took a frightening turn.
The owners of the range grabbed their handguns and demanded to know whether I was there to “commit an act of violence” or as part of a “jihad.” I was nervous about what would happen next, being outnumbered two to one, but I didn’t return the animosity.
Regardless, of Fatihah’s intent or actions for going, or upon learning the range wanted him gone, there’s no reason to discriminate against Muslims at a gun range — unless the owner suspects them of nefarious intent. At which point he or she should drop a dime on them with the local constabulary.
The ACLU has taken up Fatiha’s case. As for whether or not a private business has the right to discriminate against any particular type of customer — for reasons or race, color, creed, religion or sexual orientation, that’s a different matter. Isn’t it?