McDonald’s apologized after a 19-year-old Muslim woman said a security guard told her to take off her headscarf or leave the restaurant.
The student, who wishes to remain anonymous, said the guard stopped her in Holloway, North London, branch and told her to remove her hijab because it was a security threat on Thursday.
She said the guard looked shocked when she refused but continued to ask, leading her to film the exchange on her phone.
Her friend Sabrina uploaded the video to Twitter, under the username @south-sab, showing the British Muslim ask: “Why can’t I come into McDonald’s? Because I’m wearing a hijab? I’m sorry but can you please say it?”
The security guard replies: “It’s just a matter of taking it off.”
The woman of Middle Eastern descent then says: “It’s not just a matter of taking it off. I wear this for religious reasons and I’m not ashamed of it, and I will stand in line and I will get the food I want, because this isn’t OK.”
When the security guard is told he cannot ask the woman to remove her hijab by a member of the public, he says: “It’s none of your business.”
The woman responds: “I am sorry but I just want to know who is implementing this policy because this is f****** ridiculous.”
Voices can then be heard telling her ‘don’t be rude’ and ‘stop swearing’ and she replies: “I am not being rude. I am so shocked right now.”
A member of staff tells her friend to stop filming, to which she says “it is my legal right to film whatever is happening right now.”
When the woman is finally told she will be able to come into the restaurant, she replies: “I don’t want want anything any more.”
The video ends with the woman saying: “I have been living in the UK for 19 years now and this is the first time I’m faced with this kind of discrimination and I am shocked. I am actually shocked.”
She told the Guardian: “I thought: It’s finally happening to me, like it has to so many hijabis.”
“It didn’t feel real because I had seen so many videos like this and it was finally happening to me in real life. I was in so much disbelief.
“The friend I was with was shocked and scared, and said it was a risky situation. When it was over, I finally realised how these situations can become dangerous. This is not a one-off thing.
“I will never walk into a McDonald’s again.”
A McDonald’s spokeswoman said the franchise does not have a policy in place which restricts or prevents anyone wearing a hijab, or any other religious dress, from entering its restaurants.
“We welcome customers of all faiths and would like to apologise to the customer as this situation should not have taken place,” she said.
“We are taking this matter extremely seriously and are addressing this with the individuals involved.”