Bill Donohue comments on Macy’s mistreatment of a Muslim woman:

Samya Moftah went to Macy’s flagship store in Manhattan in the summer of 2015 looking for gifts for her family. Instead, the Muslim woman found herself locked in a basement cell, charged with multiple crimes, threatened, and mocked because of her Muslim faith. A Manhattan court judge has now ruled in her favor as part of a class action lawsuit.

Moftah, who had brought some previously purchased items back to the store to exchange, was pulled aside, accused of shoplifting, and taken down to the basement to what she said “looked like jail cells.” A Macy’s manager told her to sign some documents and pay $100, and she could go home. Having not eaten all day—it was Ramadan—she began to cry. She was then threatened with handcuffs and taunted for stealing during Ramadan and being a Muslim. The manager returned, upping the price for releasing her to $500. When she refused to pay, her credit card was removed from her wallet and charged for the $500.

In March of this year, the charges against Moftah were dismissed. Then in July, Judge Manuel Mendez ruled that Macy’s had violated Moftah’s due process rights. He said there is no language in the business law statutes that allows Macy’s to detain an individual once an internal investigation is complete. The court enjoined Macy’s from “demanding, requesting, collecting, receiving, or accepting any payments” from suspected shoplifters while they are in Macy’s custody. And he rebuked Macy’s for using the shoplifting statutes “as a double-edged sword instead of a shield.”

Moftah might find some consolation in knowing that Muslims are not the only people of faith Macy’s mistreats. In a case we continue to address, Javier Chavez awaits action from the N.Y. State Division of Human Rights after Macy’s fired him for his Catholic beliefs (click here).

Contact Macy’s VP for Corporate Communications and External Affairs Jim Sluzewski:

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