ABC Achrafieh apparently ordered a shop in the mall to replace a veiled salesperson, and the event is causing much anger on social media in Lebanon.
The public outrage kicked off when a lady shared the following on her Instagram account: “What is being reported on social media didn’t happen to me personally. It’s with a veiled lady who’s employed at the pop-up stand who shared this incident with me after I addressed the issue of the hijab on my page.”
The store, in which the veiled woman was working, then posted on Instagram the following statement:
“Many of you might know by now, we had an encounter with ABC when they asked us to replace the veiled saleswoman at our popup stand at their Achrafieh branch. That led to us packing and leaving their premises.”
The store also commented that they do not want this incident to go viral since the situation involves “a delicate matter in the country we live in.”
“We certainly do not accept discrimination in our establishment therefore it is no longer our desire to exhibit at their mall.”
In turn, a message from the mall circulated on social media, stating the following:
“ABC is a non-sectarian entity that welcomes and respects all religions at the mall. The ban doesn’t discriminate against any religious beliefs.”
“However, our internal policy, which forbids all religious public displays and symbolic items/accessories, is communicated very clearly and is accepted by all ABC employees, tenants, and pop-up shops.”
This event caused much backlash online, with many people wanting to boycott the mall for the “discriminatory behavior” by trying to replace a veiled salesperson.
Lebanon is a country of 18 official religious confessions, with its political system based on sects and its multi-religious coexistence an integral part of its heritage and history.
“Public displays” of religious “symbols” are everywhere to be seen across the country, and also in malls during religious celebrations like Christmas, Ramadan, Easter, and so on.