Muslim man alleges eatery discrimination

A Muslim man from New Orleans is accusing employees at a Subway restaurant in Shreveport of refusing him service because of his religion.

Muhammad Husain said he visited the Subway while traveling through Shreveport on the day before Thanksgiving. Husain, who is of South Asian descent, said he went outside to retrieve medication from his car after using the restroom. His wife was still inside.

“An employee came to the door of the restaurant, asked him if he was Muslim,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “When he said yes, the person retreated back into the store and locked the door behind her. The man feared for his wife who was still in the restaurant.”

Husain said he called police. Shreveport police said employees also called.

“They saw actions being displayed by Mr. Husain that I guess made them somewhat uncomfortable,” Shreveport Police spokesman Cpl. Marcus Hines said. “They advised that Mr. Husain began to curse them, I believe that was the case, and at that point they called the police.”

The American-Islamic Relations Council asserted that police were unjustified in patting down Husain for weapons when they arrived.

“We’re talking about a 63-year-old, retired individual who is 5 foot 6,” Hooper said. “He’s hardly an imposing, threatening presence.”

CAIR wants police to investigate their response. Hines, though, said police arrived at the scene of an argument.

“Any time we come into contact with someone who’s been accused of the possibility of any crime, it’s not uncommon that we do a pat down for weapons,” he said.

The CAIR also wants an apology from Subway’s headquarters in Milford, Conn. Subway directed them to the franchise owner.

The Subway restaurant is owned by a company associated with U.S. Rep. John Fleming, R-Minden.

A spokesman for the congressman referred comment to the company. Officials with the company said the discrimination allegations are false.