An American Muslim has posted an astonishing video of his experience at a drive-thru window in Missouri, where he was subjected to Islamophobic abuse by a cashier while she served him his meal.
Tarek Hamdan was fasting for Ramadan when he visited the Taco Bell branch in Bridgeton at 1am to pick up $55-worth of fast food for his suhoor (pre-sunrise meal).
Questioned about his large order by a manager-in-training, Hamdan explained he was starving because he was observing his faith's holy month, one of the five pillars of Islam that honours the Quran first being unveiled to the Prophet Muhammad.
The pair began what proved to be a 25-minute conversation about Hamdan's religion, with the employee inviting him to call her out of hours to continue a debate in which she equated all Muslims with the Islamist terrorists of al-Qaeda before delivering the ultimatum:
Until you call me and change my mind, Muslim motherf**kers can suck my d**k.
Unmoved, Hamdan argues with her that the extremists are "monsters, those people are disgusting" and not representative of Islam but the cashier disputes his point, insisting "they tore down my country, they killed thousands of my people" (on 9/11).
She then challenges him about his faith's attitude to women and whether they are expected to "bow down" to men.
"Women have equal rights as men, that's what God says in the book", Hamdan counters but she refuses to accept the statement, insisting: "That's not Muslim."
After the pair are pressured to end the row to clear the way for the next car in line, another member of staff intervenes.
Commendably measured and reasonable throughout, Hamdan finally concludes the exchange by saying:
I'm a customer, regardless of your views, you shouldn't say what you said... It's still unacceptable, it's still customer service.
Taco Bell has since fired the employee, saying in a statement: "We welcome everyone in our restaurants and do not tolerate this type of behaviour. This is a franchise location and the team member involved no longer works for this franchisee. The franchisee has reached out to the customer to apologise."
Faizan Syed, executive director of the Missouri chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the restaurant chain's actions did not go far enough and that staff should be made to undertake sensitivity training to avoid a repeat incident.