Posted December 12, 2020 12:16:25The owners of Arby Meets, a chain of specialty grocery stores, have defended their decision to place a hijab-clad woman on their shelves and said it was just “human decency” to do so.
In a statement posted on their website, the chain said it had no intention of discriminating against the woman, but had “an obligation to act in the best interest of our customers”.
“The store has a diverse customer base, including men, women, children and senior citizens,” the statement said.
“The store also does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, national origin, disability or health.”
Arby’s founder, Jim Overstreet, told ABC News Australia the decision was made on the premise that the woman was in breach of their “customer rights”.
“We’ve been doing business with her for many years, so we feel that it is important to have the right to do that,” he said.
“As a store, we’re human beings, and we should treat everyone equally.”‘
A human rights violation’The store, which has been operating in Melbourne’s CBD for more than 40 years, has been criticised for its decision to cover the woman’s head in a hijab and for not removing her hijab at the time of her interview.
A spokesman for the store said they felt the woman had not breached their “human rights”.
The decision to ban her was made because they had “no idea that it would become a social issue”, he said, adding they had received no complaints from customers.
“We know that the Muslim community in Australia has a large number of followers and we know that people of all religions have different views on these issues,” the spokesman said.