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Islington Council to consider future of McDonald’s restaurants in borough following Seven Sisters Road hijab incident

PUBLISHED: 08:44 11 December 2017 | UPDATED: 09:11 14 December 2017

Islington Cllr Rakhia Ismail led a protest outside the Seven Sisters Road branch of McDonald's in Holloway on Saturday, after a customer was refused service for refusing to remove her hijab. Picture: Stand Up To Racism

Islington Cllr Rakhia Ismail led a protest outside the Seven Sisters Road branch of McDonald's in Holloway on Saturday, after a customer was refused service for refusing to remove her hijab. Picture: Stand Up To Racism

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Islington Council is considering the future of McDonald’s restaurants across the borough after a woman wearing a hijab was refused service in the Seven Sisters Road branch in Holloway.

A video of the incident, in which she was told to remove her headscarf by a security guard on November 30, was shared thousands of times online.

At Thursday night’s full council meeting, leader Cllr Richard Watts (Lab, Tollington) said community development leader Kaya Comer-Schwartz (Lab, Junction) was looking into the “licensing implications” for restaurants in the borough. This could impact their opening hours.

Cllr Watts said: “This was an appalling act. It’s part of a slippery slope which led to the Finsbury Park terror attack in June. This is a daily experience for many Muslim women.”

He was responding after Cllr Rakhia Ismail (Lab, Holloway) tabled an emergency motion about the incident. She led a protest outside the restaurant last Saturday.

It was agreed Cllr Watts would write to the chief executive of McDonald’s UK, demanding a formal apology for the victim and for McDonald’s to “urgently” re-train staff on hate crime awareness. The council will also rally more people and companies to sign up to its anti-hate crime pledge.

Cllr Caroline Russell (Green, Highbury East), Islington’s sole opposition member, backed the motion and said: “Even by the deplorable ethical standards of that company this incident is chilling.

“I welcome the news other aspects of the way McDonald’s conduct business in the borough are being looked at from a licensing perspective and I look forward to hearing the conclusions.”

On Friday, when asked by the Gazette to go into further details about the “licensing implications”, Cllr Watts said he was unable to comment for fear of prejudicing any future legal cases.

McDonald’s said it’s “deeply sorry” about the incident, and has suspended the security guard in question.

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