Suzanne Chybli is the owner of Alena's Boutique and Bridal, a store which caters to the needs of the women in Calgary's Muslim community. In the past, Alena's sold hijabs, abayas, and many other special and unique items - until the administration of the North Hill Shopping Centre ordered Chybli to remove all the hijabs and abayas in the store.
Chybli complied with the mall, removing over 40 boxes of stock from her boutique. After she had done so, the mall administration told her, "We have the right to throw you out in 24 hours. We won't do that because you have removed all the unwanted items as we requested, but we will not be renewing your contract for January 1, 2013."
Chybli and her customers are devastated at what is happening to one of the only Muslim clothing stores in Calgary.
Says Chybli, "This petition is not meant to help Alena's in any way, but to increase awareness that discrimination happens all the time.
"Going back in history, almost every culture, religion and race had women wearing a scarf but over time they have decided to remove it. Now, because most Muslims have chosen to wear one, we are looked at like we are doing something wrong.
"Malls always have the upper hand, so unfortunately there’s nothing really that I can do. I cannot prove that their decision was based on prejudice or because we neglected to obey the terms of the lease. However; as the events have unfolded in the past two to three months regardless it looks like they don’t want us to stay there anyways.
"We’ve been getting dirty looks from the some of the other stores since we opened there. It made me feel like we didn’t belong as we stepped out of area of the city mostly reserved for cultural stores that are in the northeast sector of the city.
"All we want as Alena’s Boutique and Bridal is to have the right to sell very conservative clothing and hijabs to our customers, who thanked us so many times for opening the store on this side of the city.
"I love my store, I love the clothing, and I love the completeness of a woman in proper clothing. My customers are saddened by this tragic event.
"Hopefully we can find a location that is great for the store and customers and not offend anyone else."
Please stand up for Suzanne Chybli, Alena's, and the Muslim women of Calgary. Do not allow this discrimination to stand.
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