Muslim group alleges religious discrimination by Citibank
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The New York Chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) filed a discrimination complaint with New York City’s Human Rights Commission on Tuesday, alleging religious discrimination against a Muslim woman by Citibank.

The complaint, filed Tuesday, claims the bank would not open a savings account for a Muslim woman who wanted to designate her husband as the beneficiary of the account. CAIR says that the situation is one of a series of "Banking while Muslim" incidents.

According to the complaint, the married Muslim woman, who wears a hijab, tried to open a savings account on July 3 and asked to designate her husband as the beneficiary.


Upon hearing her husband’s name, the bank allegedly told the woman it needed three to four days to investigate her husband first.

The bank did not provide any reason for the investigation and did not allow her to open the savings account, according to CAIR-NY.

“’Banking while Muslim’ is not a crime, yet financial institutions are singling out American Muslims for discriminatory treatment,” CAIR-NY Litigation Director Ahmed Mohamed said in a statement.

“The inability to open a bank or savings account can have dire financial consequences for a family, in addition to the emotional and psychological effects associated with being denied service because of your race, nationality or faith,” he added.

In a statement to The Hill, a spokesperson for Citigroup said federal law required the review, adding "Citi has no tolerance for discrimination in any form and eligibility for banking products is not conditioned on race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender or sexual orientation."

Mohamed said CAIR-NY has identified a pattern of “banking discrimination” against Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent, and it is currently in the process of collecting further data for its #BankingWhile Muslim campaign. The group expects to file multiple lawsuits and complaints in coming weeks, according to CAIR-NY.