The lawsuit suggests that Frontier Justice’s suburban Kansas City location has a history of discriminating against Muslims. However, the store maintains that its dress code policy is applicable to everyone, regardless of their faith, ethnicity, or background.
A Muslim woman has filed a lawsuit against a Missouri firearms store, claiming the suburban Kansas City location refused to let her use its shooting range unless she removed her hijab.
According to ABC News, the lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Independence-based Baldwin & Vernon law firm.
In her complaint, Rania Barakat and her husband say they visited “Frontier Justice” on January 1, 2020, to use its shooting range.
However, Frontier Justice employees told her that she would not be permitted to use the facility unless she removed her hijab, a form of female head covering considered mandatory for women by most Islamic scholars.
Barakat’s lawsuit now asserts that Frontier Justice’s dress code is structured in such a way as to disproportionately—and aversely—affect Muslim women.
However, the firearms shop has defended its policy. In a Facebook post, Frontier Justice said that its dress code rules—which have been in place since 2015—are designed to protect customers from being burned by expended brass and are not intended to discriminate against any particular religious group.
Frontier Justice’s dress code, adds ABC News, requires all shooters to remove all head coverings except forward-facing baseball hats.
In its statement, a store manager said that firearm shrapnel could cause a hijab to burn or catch fire, potentially harming the wearer.
However, Barakat and her husband said they told Frontier Justice’s manager that they had been allowed to use several other shooting ranges without problem.
When Barakat tried to explain that most people wear long sleeves and shirts to protect their bodies from shrapnel anyway, Frontier Justice’s manager allegedly became “aggressive and loud,” informing the couple that their store had different rules.
The lawsuit observes that Frontier Justice does appear to have abrogated its own dress code on numerous occasions: the complaint not only cites social media posts from other Muslims who say they were turned away from the store’s shooting range, but Frontier Justice’s own Instagram posts showing customers firing weapons while wearing backwards-facing baseball caps, hats, and scarves.
“It is completely unacceptable for a business establishment to deny service to customers based on their religious belief—and that is exactly what Frontier Justice has done,” said Moussa Elbayoumy, chairman of CAIR-Kansas’s board. “The claim that 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 asks a federal court to find that Frontier Justice policies toward and allegedly against women wearing hijab violate provisions of the Civil Rights Act off 1964; it also asks that Frontier Justice prohibit its gun range employees from acting in ways that may discriminate against persons on the basis of their religion.
In response to negative Google Reviews citing Barakat’s case and claiming discrimination, Frontier Justice has asserted that Barakat is the only Muslim woman who has complained about its policies.
The response noted that Frontier Justice provides tight-fitting “swim” hijabs to Muslim women whose apparel is deemed unsafe, and permits persons in violation of the company’s dress code to use a firearms simulator if they are unwilling or unable to change their clothes.
However, Frontier Justice’s statement did not specify whether these accommodations were offered when Barakat visited the range in 2020.