Dollar Express regrets Muslim was asked to leave over veil

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Thursday, August 4, 2016

GARY, Ind. -- A dollar store chain says it regrets that an employee told a woman to leave one of its Indiana stores because of her Muslim face veil.

Store owner of Dollar Express says it's addressing the incident with the employee and is working "to ensure that no customer is ever treated this way again." The Charlotte, North Carolina-based company says it will reach out to Safi.

Sarah Safi posted video on Facebook on Monday showing her exchange with a clerk at a Gary, Indiana, store. In the video, a manager tells Safi that she has to remove the veil covering or leave.

At that point, Safi began to record the exchange on her cell phone. Safi, who was born and raised in Texas, moved to Gary a few years ago. She told the clerk she wears a niqab and hijab for religious purposes; the clerk, who identified herself as the manager, insisted Safi leave.

"I understand, but you have to understand too this is a high crime area and we get robbed a lot. You need to remove that from your face or remove yourself from the store," the clerk is seen saying on the video.

"I told her this country is a country of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and I have a right to wear whatever I want," Safi said.

While her children waited in the car, the Family Dollar employee told Safi if she didn't leave the store she would call the police.

"Do I wait for the police to come and let my children see this, or do I go head and just go and let Allah handle it how he sees fit?" she said she asked herself. She left.

The worker also had parting words for her as she was on her way out.

"Have a blessed day," the employee says on the video.

"I'm really saddened. I was born here, raised here all my life and I've never been to an establishment and been treated like this," Safi said.

Family Dollar is currently being bought by Dollar Express.