Former Muslims with Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) were kicked out of a Starbucks connected to a Hilton hotel in Houston, Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported. In the video, Lina, an ex-Muslim Syrian, was physically barred by a Hilton manager from re-entering the Starbucks after she had bought an iced coffee and was expelled from the establishment for wearing a t-shirt.
In the video, a Hilton manager came out to prevent Lina from re-entering the Starbucks after she had already purchased a drink. First, he suggested that she remove her t-shirt, and then she would be admitted. Later, however, he refused to allow her companion to enter the premises, even though he was not wearing an ex-Muslim t-shirt.
“You’re not allowed on the property,” the manager said. When asked why, he reiterated, “Because you’re not allowed. You’ve got shirts right now.”
When pressed again, the manager explained, “There’s a protest going on. You can if you take your shirts off, whatever.”
Lina replied, “Why does my shirt offend you?” He shot back, “This is private property!”
The manger insisted that the EXMNA volunteers were not allowed in Starbucks because they were “part of the protest.” The volunteers were in Houston for the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) convention near the Hilton hotel. A Texas Patriot Network protest against the ISNA convention sparked clashes between protesters and counter-protesters affiliated with antifa, the New Black Panther Party, and other groups, the Houston Chronicle reported.
The EXMNA volunteers explained that they were not part of the protest. He pointed out a clear line on the ground, saying, “If you come on my property, you will be arrested for trespassing.”
“Is it your statement that I can’t be on your property because my shirt says I’m an ex-Muslim?” Lina asked.
“The EXMNA volunteers were taking a coffee break at the Starbucks after a day of handing out flyers and speaking with and interviewing attendees at the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)’s annual conference,” EXMNA explained in a press release. “Without warning, they were informed by staff that they must leave the establishment.”
So– a paying customer at Starbucks was asked to leave because she was wearing a t-shirt expressing an opinion?
“I was surprised. I was simply drinking my iced coffee and scrolling through my phone, and they told me I needed to leave, so I asked why,” Nina said in a statement. “I was told that they are not allowing protesters at the property, I assured the woman that I was not a protester.”