The co-founder of fruit basket company Edible Arrangements has filed a lawsuit against a prestigious yacht club in Branford, Connecticut, claiming he was denied full membership because of his race, religion and country of origin. Kamran Farid, who was born in Pakistan but moved to the U.S. when he was a toddler, is Muslim.
Farid, along with his wife Kara, filed the lawsuit last week against Pine Orchard Yacht and Country Club, where he and his family had a “provisional” membership for two years before being denied regular, permanent membership in July 2015, according to The New Haven Register.
"Pine Orchard followed a long-established, non-discriminatory process when deliberating Mr. Farid’s petition for regular club membership," Pine Orchard's attorney William E. Murray told the International Business Times Wednesday. "The board never considers race, religion or national origin in making its decisions. It does take into account the response it solicits from club members, and in this case, that response was unprecedented and overwhelming. The club strongly denies the allegations contained in the lawsuit and considers them to be without merit."
Farid’s membership denial sparked a petition of protest, which had been signed by 64 members of the club as of last week. The petition urged the board of governors to reconsider its decision. “We believe the vote taken was done without the benefit of input from members who actually know Kamran and his family, and was the result of efforts by a small, non-representative group of members,” it reads.
Farid claimed he had no prior issues with the club and that his request for permanent membership was denied simply based on his faith. He also claimed the club has “zero minorities” and he has seen “blatantly racist letters” that were sent to the board to oppose his membership.
The lawsuit stated some club members "made derogatory and racially insensitive comments" about the Farids' race, religion, color, national origin and/or ancestry, including that they were "Muslim and supported terrorism, that they would be practicing their religion on the club’s property; that Kara Farid and her three young children would be wearing hijabs to the club’s pool; and that if the club were to allow them to become regular members, they would propose more Muslims for membership.”
In August 2014, a press release posted to the Anti-Defamation League website refuted the rumor that Edible Arrangements funded Hamas, a Palestinian militant Islamist group.
Similar discriminations suits have been filed this year. In May, seven Muslim women sued a California restaurant for discrimination, alleging they were singled out for wearing hijabs. The restaurant countersued a month later, saying the women were going against a 45-minute seating policy.