A group walked into a Starbucks located inside a Hilton Hotel. They got their coffee and sat down to drink it when the manager of the Hilton ordered them to leave over the tee shirts they were wearing. The shirts read, “I’m an Ex-Muslim, Ask Me Why.”
The Hilton manager told them: “You’re not allowed on the property. You’re not allowed. You’ve got shirts right now.”
The group had been at the Islamic Society of North America’s annual conference in Houston, where they were passing out flyers and talking to the attendees. They went to Starbucks for a quick break. They were tossed out and threatened with arrest if they tried to reenter the store.
The Hilton manager appears to have conflated the ex-Muslim volunteers with a separate group of protesters and counter-protesters squaring off outside the conference.
“I was surprised,” one of the volunteers said. “I was simply drinking my iced coffee and scrolling through my phone, and they told me I needed to leave, so I asked why. I was told that they are not allowing protestors at the property, I assured the woman that I was not a protestor. She then asked me if I was part of the event or a guest at the hotel. I was neither.”
“I was then told that even though I was a paying customer, I was not allowed to be on the premise as it was reserved for guests and event members for the weekend and that they will not be allowing anyone else on their private property,” she continued. “However, I noticed the Starbucks was still open to the public and I didn’t see anyone else being asked to leave.”
Mohammad Syed, the president of Ex-Muslims of North America, said the incident was discrimination against the ex-Muslim volunteers.