Ex-Muslims Refused Cake to Avoid ‘Offense’

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A decision by the chain store Wegmans Food Markets to refuse service to the Ex-Muslims of North America on grounds that the organization might offend their Muslim workers has been overturned after the group threatened legal action.

The Fairfax Virginia chapter of Ex-Muslims of North America attempted to order a cake from Wegmans to celebrate the three-year anniversary of the founding of their chapter in a private celebration.

"The request included a picture of the Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) name and logo, with a caption of 'Congratulations on 3 years!'" according to a statement from EXMNA, "but was refused by an associate from the Fairfax [Virginia] branch of the popular chain, stating that the request was 'offensive.'"

The group was outraged by the refusal of service

“I’m shocked by the denial,” said Muhammad Syed, the president of EXMNA. “There is nothing about our name or logo that can be considered offensive to any reasonable individual. There are some, however, who take our very existence as an affront to their faith, and to them I have only this to say: We have every right to exist and be proud of who we are, and we won’t back down.”

EXMNA contacted the Freedom From Religion Foundation, a national non-profit which provides legal support in cases that threatening the separation between religion and state. The organization sent a letter to Wegmans demanding that the cake be made without charge and that Wegmans educate its workforce about the rights of non-religious groups to be respected just as religious groups are.

Wegmans headquarters reversed its decision and ordered the Fairfax store to make the cake.

"It was the wrong decision," Jo Natale, a company spokeswoman, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "We should have made the cake. The decision to not fill this cake order was made at the store level by a well-intentioned employee, who was trying to act in the best interest of a diverse employee population."

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Meira Svirsky

Meira Svirsky is the editor of ClarionProject.org