Urth Caffe, a cafe chain accused of unceremoniously evicting seven Muslim women from its premises has hired a notoriously anti-muslim law firm, the American Freedom Law Center, to counter sue the plaintiffs, according to reports on Wednesday.
The women, who were wearing head scarves, were led out by police from the Laguna Beach location on April 22 for violating the eatery's policy of allowing a 45-minute stay during peak times, the cafe’s management said.
However, on Tuesday, the women launched a discrimination lawsuit against the coffee house as they believe they were forced out for “being visibly Muslim".
The lawsuit says there was a table of non-Muslim women seated for far longer that were not asked to leave.
Sara Farsakh, who was among the seven kicked out, said in an interview she "cried the whole way home,” and that she was “so shocked and hurt by what happened".
To counteract the women’s claims the southern California restaurant has turned to the American Freedom Law Center, which was co-founded by unabashed critic of Islam, David Yerushalmi, to represent them in court.
Yerushalmi co-authored a 2011 study named "Sharia adherence in U.S. mosques" in which he determined mosques in the United States are breeding grounds for extremism. His lead researcher on the project, Dave Gaubatz, compared Islam to a “terminal disease".
Yerushalmi has also gone on record as saying that Islam is “our (the West’s) greatest enemy today” and that "Islamic civilization has turned away" from "civilized behavior ... without looking back".
Laguna Beach police officers who arrived at the scene that evening "did see empty tables, but there was no survey done of how many people were in the restaurant," department spokesman Jason Kravetz said.
Kravetz said the women “respectfully left, having paid their bill," when the police arrived.
Mohammad Tajsar, an attorney at Pasadena-based Hadsell Stormer & Renick LLP, representing the women, said the expulsion of the group of women “is a throwback to the days of "whites only signs and colored water fountains, with Muslims now being the convenient targets of discrimination".
A Georgetown University report says authorities registered 180 incidences of violence towards Muslims, including “12 murders; 34 physical assaults; 49 verbal assaults or threats against persons and institutions” from March 2015 to March 2016.