Lawsuit Alleges Gun Range Made Muslim Woman Remove Her Hijab in Order to Shoot

A discrimination lawsuit has been filed in Missouri against a firearms store by a prominent Muslim civil rights organization.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Baldwin & Vernon law firm filed the lawsuit on Tuesday on behalf of Rania Barakat.

According to the lawsuit, employees at Frontier Justice in Lee's Summit, Missouri, told Barakat, who was with her husband, that she would not be allowed to enter the range unless she took off her hijab. An argument then allegedly ensued regarding the safety of wearing the religious covering, with the couple eventually leaving the store due to the manager becoming "aggressive and loud" over the two pointing out that Barakat had never been told to remove her hijab in other gun ranges.

"It is completely unacceptable for a business establishment to deny service to customers based on their religious beliefs—and that is exactly what Frontier Justice has done," said CAIR-Kansas Chairman Moussa Elbayoumy in a statement. "The claim that a hijab somehow presents a safety issue is merely a bad excuse in an attempt to justify a pattern of discriminatory treatment of Muslim women."

The lawsuit claims that the range has a history of turning away Muslim customers for wearing hijabs, according to several social media posts made by people who allegedly had similar experiences. Furthermore, the suit says that other posts show similar but nonreligious coverings, such as scarves, were worn by customers who were not reprimanded the same way Barakat was.

Gun Range
A Muslim woman is accusing a Missouri gun range of religious discrimination. In this photo, a marksman sights in on a target during a class to qualify for an Illinois concealed carry permit on February 14, 2014, in Posen, Illinois. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

The gun range says it requires shooters to remove all head coverings except baseball caps facing forward. A store manager explained that shrapnel could cause the hijab and skin to burn.

The couple told the manager they had used several other shooting ranges with no problems caused by the hijab and that people wear long sleeves and shirts that cover their necks to protect them from shrapnel, according to the lawsuit.

The manager said the gun range had different rules, according to the lawsuit.

CAIR had asked the U.S. Department of Justice in July to investigate civil rights practices at Frontier Justice.

At the time, Bren Brown, Frontier Justice's president, said Barakat was not discriminated against and was asked to follow a dress code that is applied to all patrons equally, The Kansas City Star reported.

The lawsuit asks the federal court to find that Frontier Justice's policies regarding the wearing of hijabs violates the 1964 Civil Rights Act and prohibit the gun range and its employees from acting in ways that discriminate against anyone based on their religion.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.