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Washington, U.S.A. – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on June 19 called on Apple to change its policy following reports of Farsi-speaking customers being denied service.
CAIR is consulting with the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) on this and other discrimination cases. Some members of the Iranian-American community prefer the use of “Persian” to describe the language of Iran.
Two Apple customers in Georgia, U.S.A. said that local stores refused to sell them merchandise after they were overheard speaking Farsi, the language of Iran. One woman, a U.S. citizen and University of Georgia student, said an Apple employee refused to sell her an iPad Thursday, June 14 after hearing her and a relative talking.
An Apple Store manager reportedly cited a policy prohibiting sales to Iran. Later the manager showed the policy that stated the exportation, sale, or supply from U.S. to Iran of any Apple goods is not allowed unless the U.S. government authorizes it. An Apple customer service representative later apologized and told the woman she could buy the iPad online.
The woman, Sahar Sabet, reported that the employee who refused to sell her the iPad stated, “I just can’t sell this to you. Our countries have bad relations.”
Another customer of Iranian heritage reportedly had a similar experience at another Apple Store.
“Apple must revise its policies to ensure that customers do not face discriminatory treatment based on their religion, ethnicity or national origin,” said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. “If the actions of these Apple employees reflected company policy, that policy must be changed and all employees retrained.”
Awad agreed with those who noted that not selling embargoed merchandise to Farsi speakers would be like not selling the same items to Spanish speakers because they might be from Cuba or Korean speakers because they might be from North Korea.
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.