A Muslim family has filed a lawsuit after being kicked out of the Empire State Building…for praying. Last July, Fahad and Amina Tirmizi and their two young children were on the observation deck of the Empire State Building when the time came for a mandatory evening prayer. According to the court documents, the family found a secluded area with no traffic to kneel and begin their ceremonies when Fahad was interrupted by physical harassment from a security guard.
The guard reportedly prodded Fahad several times with his hands and feet before declaring that the family was not allowed to pray and forcing them into the elevator back to the ground floor. The suit demands an unspecified amount of monetary damages for being “shamed, humiliated and embarrassed in front of each other, their children and the general public.” A spokesperson for the Empire State Realty Trust believes that “the claims are totally without merit and we will respond to them in court.”
It’s important to remember that racism is no longer the loud, brash presence it once was. Real racism is quiet and takes place in private conversations beyond closed doors but can be felt all the same. The fact that the incident happened at one of America’s most iconic buildings only amplifies the message that as long as it’s not a public policy and everyone else is willing to look the other way, cultural discrimination is acceptable.