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Oklahoma bankers group updates security policy on religious headwear

The Oklahoma Bankers Association has adapted its recommended “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” security policy in an effort to address religious sensitivities.
BY DON MECOY dmecoy@opubco.com Published: January 25, 2013
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The Oklahoma Bankers Association has tweaked its recommended “no hats, no hoods, no sunglasses” security policy at banks after an incident at a Tulsa bank last year involving a woman customer wearing a religiously mandated head scarf, or hijab, raised discrimination claims.

The Oklahoma Bankers Association clarified the voluntary initiative, designed to boost safety at banks by making it easier to identify robbers, after meeting with the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma and the state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

The meeting was prompted in October when, at a Tulsa bank, a woman wearing a hajib was told she would have to be escorted into the bank because of the policy on head-covering attire. She and groups supporting her claimed the policy was discriminatory.

The ACLU and state CAIR chapter on Thursday praised the industry group for responding to those concerns.

“We are incredibly pleased that the OBA recognizes that respecting the religious requirements of their customers and ensuring a safe and secure banking environment can go hand in hand,” Ryan Kiesel, executive director of the ACLU of Oklahoma, said in a statement.

Adam Soltani, executive director of state chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said his group met with Oklahoma Bankers Association members to explain the different types of head coverings worn by Muslim women and those of other faiths.

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