Muslim woman files discrimination complaint against Target over wrong name on cup

Nicole Norfleet, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Business News

A Muslim woman has filed a discrimination complaint against Target Corp. after she said a Starbucks barista at the Midway Target store in St. Paul wrote "ISIS" on her cup instead of her name.

The woman submitted the complaint Monday to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, the state's civil rights enforcement agency.

Target said after its own internal investigation of the employee that the act wasn't deliberate.

The woman, who identifies as a Black, Muslim woman of Somali descent who often wears a hijab head covering, visited the Target on July 1 with a friend around 6:30 pm and ordered a drink from the cafe, according to a redacted version of the complaint provided by the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN).

After taking the order, the employee asked the woman, whose first name is Aishah, for her name to write on the cup. When the woman received her drink, she found the word "ISIS."

A photo of the cup shows there's room to question whether the word is fully capitalized like an acronym. The first "I" appears to be uppercase, but the second "i" is missing the cross-strokes of a capital letter and the dot of a lowercase letter.


Asked why she wrote "ISIS" on the cup, the employee said she had not heard her name correctly, the complaint said. The customer asked to speak to a manager. The manager said to her that baristas sometimes make mistakes with names, the complaint said.

Security officers who arrived at the scene and were shown a photo of the beverage were "dismissive," the complaint also said. A Target store manager directed security personnel to get another beverage for the woman and a $25 gift card before she was escorted out, it said.

Isis is the name of an Egyptian goddess and one used by women in many parts of the world. But in the past decade, the acronym ISIS emerged for the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria that once controlled large territories in Syria and Iraq.

The word has been used as a slur against Muslim residents throughout the Twin Cities, said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR-MN. "It's the most flagrant Islamophobic thing somebody can say about someone pretty much," he said.


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