Muslim Man and Daughter Thrown Out of Staten Island Apple Store, Suit Says
HEARTLAND VILLAGE — A Muslim car mechanic and his daughter are suing Apple for $10 million, accusing employees at its Staten Island store of refusing to service their iPhone because of their religion, according to a lawsuit.
Elsayad Sobhi, 48, claims he and his teenage daughter, Norhan, were threatened and thrown out of the store after employees spotted her wearing a traditional headdress.
Sobhi went to the Heartland Village outlet on Dec. 20, 2010, to get his recently purchased iPhone fixed by an employee, according to a lawsuit filed March 15 in Brooklyn Supreme Court.
While the employee was working on the smartphone, Sobhi's daughter joined them. When the worker saw her headdress, he refused to continue repairing the phone, the lawsuit says.
Apple employees then made threats against the Sobhis and tried to detain them "for undisclosed reasons," according to the lawsuit. Eventually, the two were tossed from the store.
"[The employees] were reacting to the dress of his daughter and as a result of what they saw," the Sobhis' lawyer, Theodore Alatsas, told DNAinfo.com New York.
The lawsuit claims the the employees discriminated against them and "refused service by virtue of their Muslim identities."
"He believes he was discriminated against and he believes that that type of behavior has become a reaction toward his community," Alatsas said of Sobhi.
The Sobhis, who live in Bay Ridge, suffered humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress.
Apple did not respond to a request for comment.