Two organizations have filed a lawsuit against an Oklahoma gun range that declared their business “Muslim-free”.
Early Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations Oklahoma and the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma announced a lawsuit against Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range in Oktaha.
The suit comes after the business declared itself a “Muslim-free establishment” in July. The suit lists Tulsan Raja’ee Fatihah as a plaintiff. Fatihah says he is an Army veteran and currently serves in the Army Reserve in a Civilian Affairs Unit. The suit alleges Fatihah was kicked out of the range in October 2015 for being a Muslim.
“I am a Muslim and I recognize what a blessing it is to be an American,” Fatihah said.
During the press conference he noted he also enjoys shooting sports.
“Not only to maintain proficiency but as a hobby,” Fatihah said.
The suit shows that on Oct. 25, Fatihah entered the business and asked to use the range. He was met by owner Nicole Hayhorn Neal who asked him to fill out a liability waiver asking his name, address and driver’s license number.
After completing the waiver, Fatihah told Neal he was Muslim. Neal then summoned her husband an co-owner Chad Neal to the front desk.
The suit alleges the Neals then armed themselves with handguns and refused to allow Fatihah to use the range. At this time Fatihah was allegedly asked if he was at the range to commit an act of violence as part of a “jihad”. The lawsuit alleges the defendants also claimed that “Fatihah’s Sharia law” required such violence.
The Neals then advised Fatihah that he would need a membership application processed and approved by members of a “gun club” to use the range and was forced to leave the business.
The lawsuit claims that no membership application and approval procedure is required of non-Muslim patrons, who are able to use the range immediately on payment of a membership fee and signing of a liability waiver.
Chad Neal declined to comment Wednesday and directed FOX 25 to his lawyer, Robert Muise, who said this case isn’t about discrimination, but safety.
“The law does not require a gun shop or a gun range owner, owners of a business that is inherently dangerous to equip or train the next San Bernardino-type jihadist or anyone who might pose a public safety risk,” Muise said.
For Fatihah it is personal.
“No one should be denied access to a public building based on who they are,” Fatihah said.
CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure says it is reprehensible to ban a person from an establishment due to their religion.
“We hope that these owners and others around the country will comply with civil rights law and stop refusing service to customers in this discriminatory and unconstitutional manner.” Laizure said.
In August, Neal told FOX 25 the sign wasn’t posted out of animosity but in response to deadly military shootings in Chattanooga.