BRIDGEWATER — A muslim woman who was asked to remove a traditional face covering, or niqab, by a shopping mall guard, has filed a lawsuit claiming discrimination against the guard and the mall’s owners.
Wakeelah Salaam, of Elizabeth, has filed a lawsuit against Bridgewater Commons mall, its owner, General Growth Properties, its mall security vendor, IPC International Corporation, and Marc Krause, a former mall guard.
On May 20, 2012, Salaam was shopping at Bridgewater Commons with her two young children when she claims she was “victimized, harassed, intimidated, insulted and subjected to unlawful discrimination” by Krause, according to the complaint.
The guard instructed Salaam to remove her traditional face-covering known as a niqab, which he called a “mask,” claiming it was against mall policy, according to the complaint.
Salaam claims that Krause violated state discrimination laws when he “intimidated (Salaam) further by placing himself in extremely close proximity to (Salaam) and by motioning as if he were going to remove the niqab itself.”
“She was genuinely devastated by this incident,” Pamela Lynn Brause of Brause, Brause & Ventrice, LLC, who filed the suit on behalf of Salaam, said. “She was in the mall, a place of major commerce, with her kids, and she was really humiliated and embarrassed.”
“I can’t speak as a Muslim, but I assure you her feelings are sincere,” Brause said. “You’re not expecting prejudice when you walk into a place of commerce, and she felt very threatened, violated, and embarrassed.”
The complaint also charges the defendants with negligence and a failure to adequately hire, train or supervise Krause, calling the conduct an “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
The complaint states that Salaam suffered severe and permanent emotional distress and bodily injuries, humiliation, and embarrassment which “necessitated obtaining medical treatment, caused great pain and suffering, severe emotional distress,” made it impossible for her to continue her usual work and activities, and “left her with permanent disabilities.”
Salaam is demanding compensatory, consequential, and punitive damages, interest, attorneys’ fees, court costs, expert fees, and any other relief the court deems just, and a jury trial, according to the complaint.
Brause said that the suit, filed on July 31, is still in the process of being served, and so is still in the preliminary stages.
In December, Krause himself filed a suit against IPC, Bridgewater Commons and General Growth properties, alleging discrimination and wrongful termination over his firing after the incident with Salaam.
As noted previously, Bridgewater is an area of NJ we’ve posted on several times due to multiple million dollar mosques being built in residential neighborhoods, and a jihadi we never heard about again.
The map shows the town of Bridgewater is about 15 minutes from the NJ high school where Muslims are attempting to force Islamic holidays on the entire student body (but more importantly on the community and school district officials).