Starbucks employee writes 'ISIS' on Muslim teenager's coffee cup

Yahoo News Staff
·2-min read

A Starbucks employee who claimed not to hear a Muslim woman correctly when she said her name, wrote “ISIS” on her coffee cup instead of asking her to spell it out.

The victim, Aishah, filed a complaint to the Department of Human Rights after the incident at a Starbucks inside a Target store in the US state of Minnesota on July 1, according to BuzzFeed News.

The 19-year-old said at first she “couldn’t believe” what was happening, and when she confronted the barista, they told her they hadn’t heard her when she said her name.

Aishah told the publication that a manager then informed her that names were often misspelled on coffee cups, which she dismissed as “not credible or acceptable”.

Photo shows a Starbucks cup with ISIS written on it.
A Starbucks employee wrote ISIS on a Muslim customer's coffee. Source:

“When somebody orders a drink at Starbucks — if the barista can’t spell the name, then they ask you to spell it,” she said.

She said she was offered a free drink and a US$25 gift card as compensation, but ultimately, with the help of the Council on American–Islamic Relations, filed an official complaint later that day.

“This is a reminder that Islamophobia is alive and present in our communities,” deputy director of the Minnesota chapter of council, Mohamed Ibrahim, said at a press conference on Monday (local time).

Target said in a statement to the publication that it was “very sorry” for Aishah’s experience, and claimed store leaders “immediately apologised” to her after being made aware of the situation.

Photo shows 19-year-old Muslim woman Aishah who had ISIS written on her Starbucks cup instead of her name.
Aishah said she was shocked that instead of asking for her name to be spelled, the staff member scribbled down ISIS. Source: WCCO via CNN

Starbucks says it was ‘an unfortunate mistake’

An internal investigation reportedly found it “was not a deliberate act but an unfortunate mistake”.

Executive director of the Council on American–Islamic Relations in Minnesota Jaylani Hussein, called on the Starbucks barista and manager involved to be sacked during the press conference.

Mr Hussein also argued in favour of both Target and Starbucks reinvesting in training their staff on appropriate ways to handle such situations.

Aishah said it was unlikely she would return to Starbucks or Target as a result of her experience.

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