A federal district court judge in Oklahoma recently denied the parties’ cross-motions for summary judgment in a lawsuit filed by Raja’ee Fatihah, a member of CAIR-Oklahoma, against Chad and Nicole Neal, the owners of the Save Yourself Survival and Tactical Gun Range, sending the case to a trial this upcoming July.
Fatihah is represented by the ACLU and CAIR. The American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) represents the Neal’s.
In this lawsuit, Fatihah claims that the Neal’s denied him the use of their gun range simply because he is a Muslim. The Neal’s claim that Fatihah was denied service based on safety reasons. Per the court:
“Defendant Nicole Neal avers that Plaintiff was not refused service based on his religion. . . . She declares that Plaintiff was not allowed to practice at their gun range on October 23, 2015 because after telling her he was Muslim, Plaintiff took a threatening stance, revealing his handgun to her, and recklessly created a controversy and disturbance. . . . She states that Plaintiff came in with an agenda, a concealed recording device, a rifle over his shoulder, and a handgun that appeared to her to be loaded. . . . She further declares that after Plaintiff left the gun range, she conducted a background check and learned that he was a board member for the Oklahoma affiliate of CAIR. . . . She avers that Plaintiff has not and will not be allowed to use the gun range because of that affiliation, as they do not permit anyone affiliated with CAIR to use the gun range due to CAIR’s ties to terrorist organizations.”
Accordingly, “[t]he court [concluded that] there is a genuine dispute of material fact as to whether Defendants refused service and continue to do so based on Plaintiff’s religion or whether they would have refused him service and continue to do so regardless of his religion.” As the court noted, this dispute of fact must be resolved at trial.
The court, however, did dismiss Fatihah’s state law claim of discrimination, as requested by the Neal’s.
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel Robert Muise commented on the case:
“Here, we have a situation where CAIR is trying to advance its political agenda by creating a conflict between armed individuals at a local gun range in order to file this meritless lawsuit. If Fatihah’s motives were as pristine as he would have the court believe, he wouldn’t be going to a gun range with a secret recording device, armed to the teeth, and confronting the owners about an issue that he knows was contentious and, in fact, dangerous. Had Fatihah’s motives been pure, he would have reached out to the Neal’s to alert them and to schedule a time to have a civil conversation about Islam, if that were truly his goal, as he claims in this case. Rather, what Fatihah did here was reckless. And that recklessness alone is enough to ban him from the range. Operating a gun range is a dangerous business. This isn’t a lunch counter. Fatihah was engaging in a dangerous game, one that should not be shielded by federal or state law.”
AFLC Co-Founder and Senior Counsel David Yerushalmi added:
“The law does not require a gun shop or gun range owner—owners of an inherently dangerous business—to equip or train the next jihadist. CAIR is a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group, an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation criminal trial—the largest terrorism financing trial prosecuted to date, the FBI has severed all ties with CAIR, and the UAE has declared CAIR a terrorist organization. Consequently, our clients’ public safety concerns were entirely justified. Not only do our clients have a right to refuse to serve someone they believe to be a public safety risk, they have an obligation to their other customers, employees, and the community to do so. This type of litigation by CAIR and the ACLU weakens our local and national security. People should be outraged by their filing of this lawsuit.”
The trial is scheduled to commence July 9, 2019, in the US. District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.