Shopping while Muslim: Arkansas couple says they were booted from mall over their faith
An Arkansas family was forced to leave a shopping mall over the weekend, and when they spoke out about the incident Tuesday they chalked it up to fears over their Muslim faith, 5News reports.
Alan Crawford and Daphne Ridenour, who both wear traditional Muslim garb including a head scarf for Daphne and robe garment for Alan, were out shopping at the Central Mall in Fort Smith, in western Arkansas, when mall patrons reported them to mall security.
“I had two unknown subjects come up to me and advise me that a male subject wearing a thobe was video recording everyone in the mall and he was video-taping the entrances of several stores,” officer Anthony Cox wrote in a police report, using the traditional name for Crawford’s garment.
Mall security informed Crawford he was not allowed to film inside the mall and escorted him, his wife and small son off the property. 5News reports multiple patrons shared photos on social media of the family leaving, with captions like, “Muslims have been scoping the layout of the mall.”
This post, shared nearly 1,000 as of Tuesday, shows photos of the family being escorted out with the caption, “Cops escorting terrorists from the mall.” It shows several officers and security guards following the family as they were made to leave.
In the comments section, the Facebook user accuses the Crawford family of “hollering alqueda (sic)” though the police report only mentions Crawford was filming, which is against mall policy.
When asked by 5News if he was planning an attack on Central Mall, Alan Crawford responded with humor but made his point nonetheless.
“I would probably absolutely destroy a bacon cheeseburger or some fries with bacon on them, or something like that,” he responded. Devout Muslims generally do not eat pork. “When we were scouting out the mall, quote-unquote, we ate a load of bacon cheese fries, which ISIS would happily kill me for.”
He said he found it odd that five police officers showed up to “enforce mall law” when he voluntarily followed their directives. Crawford was accused of filming mall store entrances, which he says is a lie.
No charges were filed because police told 5News no crime was committed. There is no evidence of a terror plot against the mall, authorities told the station.
Watch the report, from 5News, as posted here: