7 women sue California cafe for 'Islamophobic' treatment
On April 23rd, Sara Farsakh and six of her friends decided to meet up at Laguna Beach's Urth Caffe to catch up over small bites and drinks. An hour into their casual outing, the ladies claim they became the victim of racism and discrimination when one the restaurant's employees approached them and abruptly asked to leave the vicinity.
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Farsakh and her friends, all of whom were wearing hijabs at the time, are now suing the restaurant over the 'Islamophobic' treatment they received that night.
In her Facebook post recounting the sequence of events, Farsakh stated, "I truly believe that because I was sitting with visibly Muslim women, we were singled out when we were asked to leave."
According to reports, the women had just finished dinner when some of the group had gotten up to place an order for dessert at the counter. It was during this crossover period that an employee came up to them and asked them to leave, claiming that "anyone that had been there for over 45 minutes was required to share or give up their table to other customers" -- a policy that is written out on a placard on each table.
The only problem? Farsakh and her friends claim that the restaurant was near empty, documenting the countless vacant tables in a video accompanying her scathing Facebook post.
Cops were eventually called when the situation escalated. Farsakh's post stated, "They agreed that according to the policy stated on the table we weren't breaking any policy but simply said that the restaurant, rightly or wrongly, had a right to refuse service to anyone."
In a statement, the women's lawyer stated that, "Urth Caffe's attempt to whitewash its upscale clientele by using its seating policy as a justification to expel those who outwardly appear Muslim is both immoral and illegal and should have no place in Orange County's diverse community."
The restaurant's owner, Shallom Berkman, maintains his innocence, however, stating in an interview with KABC that "Everybody wants an outside seat. We have this policy to make things fair and accommodate everyone who wants to enjoy Urth Caffe." He later added in the interview that he is Jewish and his wife is Muslim.