Editor’s Note: A Starbucks spokesperson told NextShark that this branch is licensed by Target which operates and employs the baristas. This article has been updated to correct the headline.
A Muslim woman felt “belittled” and “humiliated” after a barista from Target Starbucks wrote “ISIS” on her cup.
The incident: Aishah, whose last name has been withheld for safety reasons, was on her way to her job on July 1 when she stopped by a Starbucks operated by Midway Target store in St. Paul, Minnesota, according to Sahan Journal.
- Speaking at a Council on American-Islamic Relations press conference at its Minnesota branch on Monday, the 19-year-old college student from Minneapolis said she was shocked after receiving her drink cup with “ISIS” written on it.
- “I felt humiliated, I felt enraged, I felt belittled,” Aishah, said.
- ISIS is the acronym of the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that operates mostly in the two Middle East countries.
- The store’s supervisor took the side of the barista after she complained about the incident.
- “The employee claimed that she had not heard her name correctly,” CAIR-MN said in the press conference via AsAm News. “Later, a supervisor told the Muslim customer that ‘mistakes’ sometimes happen with customers’ names, suggesting that this is not the first incident in which a customer felt targeted or harassed by a Target employee’s conduct when receiving their coffee order.”
Gifted off: Instead of apologizing, the store reportedly gave Aishah a new drink and a $25 gift card.
- After failing to address the issue, Aishah lodged a complaint with Target.
- In a statement to Sahan Journal, Target apologized for what happened at their store but called the incident an “unfortunate mistake.”
- “We are very sorry for this guest’s experience at our store and immediately apologized to her when she made our store leaders aware of the situation,” the statement reads. “We have investigated the matter and believe that it was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake that could have been avoided with a simple clarification. We’re taking appropriate actions with the team member, including additional training, to ensure this does not occur again.”
- “I felt a lot of emotions because we’re at a time when people are protesting injustice all over,” Aishah said. She had participated in the Black Lives Matter protest following the murder of George Floyd.
Call for action: CAIR-MN and Aishah are calling for action against the employee who made the Islamophobic remark.
- CAIR-MN’s executive director Jaylani Hussein wants a third-party to conduct an investigation towards the incident, KARE11 reported.
- “We now may ask for an outside investigation because Target’s investigation has concluded that the barista had made a mistake and that she had never heard of ISIS, which for us is extremely problematic and shows the lack of care and understanding and how deeply hurtful this is to the Muslim community,” he said.
- In addition, Aishah wants Target to make a proper apology and to fire both the employee and the manager, and for the store to thoroughly check their employees. She also suggested extensive training for their staff beyond a one-time seminar.
- Although they are not announcing a boycott on Target and Starbucks, Hussein said the organization is looking for another course of action, including legal, by lodging a complaint through the Minnesota Department of Human Rights and protesting.
Feature Image (left) via CBS Minnesota, (right) CAIR-Minnesota