"I want to feel like I can practice my religion without being harrassed."
Wakeelah Salaam is a 30 year old woman born in the USA. She wears a niqab that covers the entire face except for the eyes. She went into Bridgewater Commons Mall in Bridgewater Township, NJ and after about 10 minutes, a security guard told her she needed to remove the niqab.
According to the story from NY Post, the guard said: "This is a private place. You can’t wear that in here".
The mall has since apologized for the incident and has the security guard taking diversity training.
This raises an interesting dilemma. On one hand, she feels she has a religious obligation to wear the niqab to "protect herself from men". But on the other hand, covering one’s face entirely while entering a private establishment is a security concern for she could be a burglar.
Cultures collide. What takes precedent in this situation?
Pamela K. Cahoon Laub commented this:
While she is sincere, a thief could mimic her clothing and niqab while stealing things with a hidden face. It is a touchy issue. Religous beliefs vs security concerns. Stores want to respect religious beliefs, but have the right to protect them from scamming imposters.