New Jersey mall cop orders Muslim woman to remove veil

A woman shopping at a New Jersey mall said Saturday that she was shocked when a security guard told her to take off her niqab, the traditional face veil worn by some Muslim women.

Wakeelah Salaam, born in the U.S. and raised Muslim, told WABC Ch. 7 Eyewitness News she felt threatened after the same guard at Bridgewater Commons mall approached her twice.

“He said, Maam, I’m telling you, you cannot wear that mask in here,” Salaam told ABC. Salaam said she felt so uncomfortable she eventually called the police. After speaking to police, she left the mall…

Salaam regularly wears a face covering, a hijab, or headscarf, and a long dress in public, leaving only her eyes exposed…Some women choose to wear the scarf so men don’t judge them by their appearance…

She said she’s worn the niqab to court and to visit a relative in prison without complaint, so was surprised by the security guards actions.

Later, an executive from the company that runs security at the mall called Salaam to apologize.

Our security guard has received additional training in cultural diversity, said the spokesperson. “We respect her right to dress according to her religious beliefs.”

Salaam told ABC she appreciated the apology, but would probably choose a different mall to shop at in the future.

What is there to say? You can come with snappy little jokes about mall cops and nuns, Hassidic Jews, whatever. The company providing security guards did a lousy job at hiring or training or both. This is, after all, supposed to be the United States of America in the 21st Century.

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