On Saturday, September 1st, Ex-Muslims of North America (EXMNA) volunteers were forcibly expelled from a Starbucks within a Hilton hotel in Houston, Texas, after refusing to change out of T-Shirts stating “God Love is Greatest” and “I’m an Ex-Muslim, Ask Me Why”.
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. Without warning, they were informed by staff that they must leave the establishment.
“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”, says Lina an ex-Muslim Syrian woman who had traveled to the conference on behalf of EXMNA. “I was told that they are not allowing protestors at the property, I assured the woman that I was not a protestor. She then asked me if I was part of the event or a guest at the hotel. I was neither. I was then told that even though I was a paying customer, I was not allowed to be on the premise as it was reserved for guests and event members for the weekend and that they will not be allowing anyone else on their private property. However, I noticed the Starbucks was still open to the public and I didn’t see anyone else being asked to leave.”