I’m a great admirer of the Ex-Muslims of North America organization (EXMNA), whose President is Muhammad Syed and whose Executive Director is Sarah Haider. They actually do stuff rather than just talking, and they’re courageous to do it in public knowing that an apostate Muslim is, to many active Muslims, deserving of death. I suspect these apostates are even worse than Jews to Islamists! At any rate, to be a public ex-Muslim these days is to evince bravery.
And you also court the disapprobation of non-Muslim Leftists, who revere Muslims as Oppressed People of Color and demonize those who criticize the religion or its pervasive oppression. You’re also spurned by the many people who are simply afraid to be around ex-Muslims because their mere proximity means you might be in danger—but even if not you’re certainly around “Islamophobes.”
That explains the incident described on the EXMNA website (click on screenshot to read about it).
What happened is that EXMNA members were in Houston handing out flyers at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference, as well as speaking to conference attendees. That itself is a brave thing to do. Taking a break, the EXMNA people repaired to a nearby Starbuck’s coffee shop. They weren’t protesting there, but simply looking for coffee.
But they were wearing teeshirts that said “I’m an Ex-Muslim, Ask Me Why” and “
God Love is Greatest”. Those aren’t even that “in your face”, but it was enough for Starbucks to kick them out. As the report notes:
“I was surprised. I was simply drinking my iced coffee and scrolling through my phone, and they told me I needed to leave, so I asked why”, says Lina an ex-Muslim Syrian woman who had traveled to the conference on behalf of EXMNA. “I was told that they are not allowing protestors at the property, I assured the woman that I was not a protestor. She then asked me if I was part of the event or a guest at the hotel. I was neither. I was then told that even though I was a paying customer, I was not allowed to be on the premise as it was reserved for guests and event members for the weekend and that they will not be allowing anyone else on their private property. However, I noticed the Starbucks was still open to the public and I didn’t see anyone else being asked to leave.”
In other words, Starbucks was feeding them a line of bullshit.
Upon additional inquiry after leaving the premises, the hotel employees stated on video that the EXMNA group was not welcome due to their T-shirts, and repeatedly claimed the group was “protesting”, a charge which all volunteers explicitly denied multiple times.
“This appears to be a case of discrimination,” says President of Ex-Muslims of North America, Muhammad Syed. “We were asked to leave the premises and informed that we could only enter the premises if we removed the shirts, none of which stated anything inflammatory. The treatment was unjust and especially cruel considering the plight of ex-Muslims. We are killed and abused all over the world for our disbelief. It is unconscionable that companies like Starbucks and Hilton acquiesce to conservative religious sensibilities”.
. . . Armin Navabi, an Irani atheist activist, was in Houston on behalf of EXMNA. “Our goal was to see how tolerant Muslims can be, to our delight, we found many Muslims were tolerant”, he stated. “On the other hand, we found that many Westerners were intolerant. It seems that “saviors” of Muslims are more sensitive about anything that could potentially offend Muslims than Muslims are themselves.”
Hazar, another Syrian ex-Muslim who was in Houston for ISNA, states “I expected negative pushback of our presence by ISNA itself but in fact, most Muslims we talked to were welcoming. And so I certainly didn’t expect to be discriminated against on American soil by the Hilton staff for refusing to be closeted about my ex-Muslim identity. It was important for me to represent ex Muslims at ISNA because we are some of the lucky few that are able to do so with minimal consequences in comparison to those of us who aren’t privileged enough to live in a democratic society. And yet today, the treatment we received by the staff at the Hilton felt just as dehumanizing.”
Here’s a video of the EXMNA members getting the boot, apparently because they’re considered “part of the protest”. Even someone not wearing a shirt with any motto was apparently prohibited because he was “part of the protest”. But I’m sure they’d let Muslims in wearing shirts that said “Allah is greatest”, or religionists saying “I’m not an atheist. Ask me why.” This is simply discrimination against ex-Muslims.
I’m not sure about the legality of what Starbucks did, but I’m certainly going to write to them in protest. (Their drinks are overpriced, anyway.) You can see where to write below the video.
Reader Patrick, who sent me a link to the EXMNA article, adds this:
The ISNA conference took place at the George R. Brown Convention Center in Houston. The nearest Hilton is the Hilton Americas, which does have a Starbucks. Their address is 1600 Lama St., Houston, TX 77010. Their phone number is (877) 421-9062. Starbucks corporate complaint page is: https://customerservice.starbucks.com/app/contact/ask/