Head Scarf=Bank Robber?

Photo courtesy of
’111: Cheap Sunglasses’
courtesy of ‘niseag03′

The AP is reporting this morning that employees of a Navy Federal Credit Union in St. Mary’s Co, MD asked to serve a Muslim woman in a back room because of her head scarf. I’m sorry…what?! She apparently put up with it once, and then demanded that she be served like the rest of the customers, as well she should. What the heck, NFCU? Religious freedom and understanding, anyone? Bueller?

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14 thoughts on “Head Scarf=Bank Robber?

  1. I think you could make the case that they ARE being understanding. If it’s really a regular policy to forbid head coverings then they’re being accommodating by still serving her, but asking to do it out of sight of everyone else who’s being asked to follow the policy.

    That said, it seems like a pretty dopey requirement. Someone walks in dressed in a perfectly legal way with a hat and sunglasses, what do they do? Pre-emptively call the cops? Refuse service? I can’t imagine an armed robber is going to be deterred by someone scolding him or her for their hat.

  2. I agree – it is pretty dopey to bring someone into a back room for this. Certainly poor customer service. What would they do if a man with a turban came in? Same policy? I find this crazy. If I were in the bank I would say something about it to the manager.

    Also, if this rule is trying to protect from bank robbers, and you go about it by discriminating based on dress, isn’t it pretty dumb to bring people you consider not properly dressed into a back room? That’s, like, closer to all the money, right?

  3. Ever noticed how many, many robbery surveillance videos are of a person with the hood of his/her sweatshirt over his hair and part of the forehead? Now, how would civil rights for all be interpreted if only hoodies were prohibited?

  4. My Dad went to the NFCU in Ballston with a cap and a scarf and was instructed by a guard that he needed to remove them before approaching the cashiers. So they do apply it to all customers.

    Bank robberies are on a serious uptick in these financial times….

  5. Any place that takes checking identity seriously requires the removal of hats and sunglasses.

    A thumb print or something like that could possibly be used instead, but you’d get the same complaints about them being singled out and having to provide a thumb print.

    As for discouraging robbers, many robbers don’t show a gun or bring attention to themselves. They just pass a note to a teller telling them to give them cash. However, they usually also take steps to disguise themselves. If they know they will likely be confronted before reaching the teller it will likely will discourage many of them. It raises the risks of getting caught.

  6. Good. We have certain rules in this country if you don’t like it go back to your home country.

    When you go to a bank you shouldn’t have your face covered. When you get a driver’s license you have to show your face.

    if I walked into a bank with my face covered I would expect to be confronted. I don’t care if its a turban, sheet or ski mask same principle.

    If someone can’t follow these simple rules then maybe the US isn’t the place for them. There are plenty of countries with Sharia law please go there.

  7. All in all this is an issue of security and procedure not religious rights. Why in america are we calling stupidity tolerance. PC has gone way overboard.

    If Christians wore a headpiece that obscured their identity I guarantee it would have to be removed and there wouldn’t be this big “religious rights” issue. Same if yamikas covered the face or all of the hair.

    US laws > religion. If you came here from another country don’t expect to have the best of both worlds. Religious freedom should be preserved when possible except when it breaks US law.

  8. Yikes. Really, a scarf covering your hair for religious reasons is a far cry from a ski mask, if you ask me. I do see your point about security and the rules being applied equally, but I still think exceptions can be made–did you see in the article that she had been going to that bank for years, and had never had a problem before? And all of the sudden she’s being treated like a potential bank robber. I know I’d be miffed.

  9. Yeah I understand what you are saying there; that makes sense. However once you start making exceptions in today’s sue happy days you open yourself up to frivilous lawsuits.

    For example what if someone walked in behind her with something covering their face. if they let her bank and didn’t let the person behind them to the counter that would be a justful case of discrimination based on religion. Unfortunately in today’s litigation based society we can’t make exceptions without consequences.

  10. “I do see your point about security and the rules being applied equally, but I still think exceptions can be made–did you see in the article that she had been going to that bank for years, and had never had a problem before? And all of the sudden she’s being treated like a potential bank robber. I know I’d be miffed.”

    Having different rules for customers you know will likely get you in trouble. It’s also doubtful that all the tellers will recognize her, or at least be able to tell her from a similar looking person in a head scarf. They tried to make a reasonable accommodation for her by providing her with service in a different room. She found that accommodation to be unacceptable.

    She isn’t asking for just her to be allowed to get service while wearing a head scarf, because most tellers can’t be expected to recognize her on sight, especially with a head scarf in place.

    She is demanding they change their rule.

  11. I didn’t mean to come off as harsh on my first posts I just have a pet peeve with things being coined as religious tolerance when to me its a different issue. My principles apply to people of any religion (I’m agnostic btw).

    To me things like this detract from more genuine and fruitful religious discrimination which definitely does happen and should be addressed.

  12. All right, all right, I’m convinced. You guys are right–this is a silly issue that doesn’t compare to some of the real instances of religious discrimination happening all the time.

    Banks should be concerned with security first and foremost, and making exceptions for repeat customers isn’t exactly the best decision. Sigh. I know when I’ve been beat. :)

  13. Stupid rule…. maybe. I can both sides of this argument. The problem with the US we have become a nation of exceptions for the rule based on religion, speech, free will, pursuit of happiness, and ect…

    At some point we have to realize that we cannot please everyone because no matter how many exceptions you make someone will always be offended.

    Did any of you notice that when bank robbery videos are shown on the news that is always from a high vantage point thus hats and scarves could hide the face. I would put a camera at every teller just like the ATM… direct view.

  14. “Did any of you notice that when bank robbery videos are shown on the news that is always from a high vantage point thus hats and scarves could hide the face. I would put a camera at every teller just like the ATM… direct view.”

    I won’t disagree that more cameras can’t hurt, but regardless of how many camera angles you have it will be next to impossible to accurately identify someone from an image in which their head and much of their face are covered. Unless they screw up and leave some distinctive tattoo showing, a Muslim head scarf is going to hide their identity.

    The rule isn’t really targeted at Muslims, and it does seem to actually serve a genuine purpose both in terms of identifying people withdrawing money and to a smaller extent in discouraging bank robberies.