Franchisee Sues Islamic Investment Bank for Racial Discrimination
A Baltimore couple has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Islamic investment bank that owns the Church’s Chicken fast-food chain, alleging their franchise failed because the bank’s strict adherence to the religious code of Shari’ah prohibited the couple from selling pork.
Marcus and Denise Beasley, who are black, claimed they were treated differently by the bank, now known as Atlanta-based Arcapita Inc., than non-black franchisees who were allowed to continue serving breakfast dishes containing pork after the chain was acquired by the bank in December 2004.
The couple did not benefit from the grandfather policy allowing the sale of pork even though their contract with the chain’s former owners, AFC Enterprises Inc., to open a location in Baltimore/ Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport’s new terminal predated the takeover and policy change, according to the suit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
In the lawsuit, which seeks $5 million in actual damages, $5 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages, the Beasleys contend the bank’s “stated reason” for disallowing the sale of pork in their case — they had not yet opened for business – – was “pretextual.”
“Arcapita permitted all of the other breakfast franchisees, which were approximately 30 Church’s Chicken restaurants, to do so, all of which were owned by persons who are non-African American or Caucasian,” the complaint states. “Of the Church’s Chicken breakfast franchises that existed when Arcapita acquired the chain, plaintiffs are the only ones who are African American.” READ ON