Discrimination Against Arab Americans


The following is a sample of cases currently being handled by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) in Michigan.  Names have not been included, so as to protect the privacy of the individuals involved.

Case #1: Einstein Brother’s Bagels
On April 20, 2002, a young Arab American woman, who is a regular customer of Einstein, was subject to improper selective treatment by the general manager at their Dearborn store.  Her statement explains that when she requested from the general manager that chairs be placed outside so that she and her friend may eat outdoors, he refused to accommodate her.  When she responded, “so much for customer service,” he went on to say that while he would not put out chairs for her, he would do it for her friend.  He also went so far as to say that he would put one chair out for her friend and that she could sit on her friend’s lap.  Although the manager eventually put out the chairs, the young woman truly believes that she was subject to selective and exceedingly improper treatment by this manager, simply because she is ethnic looking, while her friend is not. As a civil rights organization, ADC has requested proper and amicable closure to this complaint that will both satisfy they young woman and assure her that Einstein Brothers does not support selective treatment of any customer in any way.

Case #2: Waterford Police
On June 20, 2002 three brothers were pulled over by about ten Waterford Police Cars at the intersection of Shashabow and Watkins Road at approximately 5:40 PM.  Once they were stopped, the officers approached the three men very aggressively. They were pulled out of their car, verbally harassed, kicked and pushed to the floor.  One brother was made to lie on the ground for a period of time, while an officer kept a gun pointed to his head.  The officers went so far as to seize personal information from them, including bank slips and phone books that happened to be in their possession without their knowledge and without making a report of it.  After an hour and a half of verbal and physical abuse, the officers issued no citations, indicating that the brothers were not pulled over for any type of traffic violation.  So far, none of the information that ADC has received supports a reason or justification for these individuals to be searched.  This matter as described to us is very alarming and has compelled us to contact the Waterford Police directly.  What we also find disturbing is that the young men tried to retrieve a copy of the police report and to file their own report and retrieve their personal items, but they were unsuccessful.  It is clear that these men have been suffering emotionally and physically since the occurrence of this incident.  One brother has even been undergoing medical treatment as a result of injuries that were inflicted on him by these officers. ADC has asked that immediate action be taken by Waterford Police department to rectify this matter.

Case #3: Mackinac Island
An Arab American man and his family filed a civil suit today against the Mayor of Mackinac Island, Margaret Doud as a result of a disturbing and humiliating experience that the family was made to endure during a vacation on Mackinac Island.  According to the family, they were approached by Mayor Doud, while they were throwing away their trash in a trash can, after having dinner at an establishment, owned by the Mayor on the Island, called the “Dog House.”  Mayor Doud approached the family, including the children, screaming obscenities at them.  She ordered them to take their “trash” and their “trash family” and to “get off” of her Island.  She then went on to threaten them with the police, citing that if they did not leave she would “call the police” to take the man and his “family to jail and send them back to where they belong.”  Mayor Doud went so far as to even empty out the trash that the family had disposed of and throw it back at them.  Many restaurant patrons and individuals at the park witnessed the entire scene during the time. ADC is currently working closely with the family’s attorney, in order to ensure that the Mayor of Mackinac Island faces the full consequences of her actions.

Case #4: Westland Mall
On September 7, 2002, a young Arab American man was rudely escorted out of Westland Mall and kicked off of Mall property by security guards, as a result of a disagreement that he had with a mall vendor, regarding the exchange of a product.  The disagreement ensued after the manager at “Cellular Concepts” refused to exchange a cellular phone antenna that he had sold to the man.  The manager also claimed that the Arab American man had threatened his employees.  Mall Security was contacted and approached the young man in a very aggressive manner.  He was told by security guards to “get the HELL out of the mall.”  As the young man proceeded to exit the mall, the guards continued to taunt him, shouting, “big cry baby!”  “When you get home, have your mother change you diapers!”  One of the guards even asked, “Hey, why don’t you go fly a plane?”  When the young man asked what he meant by such a statement, he was told to take it any way he wants.  He was also told to “go back to Fairlane and stay in Dearborn,” because he is not “welcome in Westland.”  He was warned by one of the officers that if he were to return to Westland Mall, he would surely be arrested.  The officers were not only aggressive, but were also very degrading, rude, forceful and threatening.  ADC has contacted Mall management and has requested an immediate investigation into the matter.

Case #5: Sky Chefs, Inc.
Attorneys on behalf of former Arab American employees at Sky Chef’s, Inc., an airline food distributor, filed a lawsuit on September 5, 2002, alleging discriminatory practices while being employed with the Company at Metro Airport in Wayne County.  Over the past two years, ADC has received a number of complaints from members of the Arab American Community who have been subject to selective treatment and harassment at work, which has created a hostile work environment and pressured many of them to leave work, or has resulted in their termination for minor violations.  ADC has, on many occasions, unsuccessfully tried to resolve these employees’ issues through meetings with Sky Chef representatives.  ADC will continue to monitor the proceedings of this case, due to its sensitive nature.  We maintain our position that Sky Chefs did not properly resolve the issues presented to them by continuously denying all allegations that have been made.

For more information, contact: Rana Abbas at (313) 581-1201



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