Security National Bank has clarified its policy regarding religious head coverings after a woman said she felt discriminated against when asked to remove hers while at the bank earlier this week.

"The bank revised its security policy to clarify that only items that obscure portions of a walk-in visitor's face must be removed," a press release from the bank said. "Religious head coverings that do not obscure the face are certainly allowed and have been in the past. The recent situation was an unfortunate misunderstanding."

Lindsey Miltner, a Security National Bank spokeswoman, said the bank had no further comment.

Tuesday, Omaha police were called to the bank's location near 78th and Cass Streets on a reported disturbance that began when a woman was asked to remove her hijab, a scarf that some Muslim women wear that covers the head, and sometimes the neck and chest.

A Facebook post from a woman said her Muslim friend went to the bank to open an account but "was not allowed to enter unless she removed her scarf." The post said police officers told the woman the bank has the right to make the request for security purposes.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, said Friday that it welcomed the policy change.

"We welcome Security National Bank's prompt change in policy allowing customers of all faiths to obtain financial services while maintaining their constitutionally protected religious freedom," National Executive Director Nihad Awad said in a release. "We hope this policy change sets a precedent for other banks nationwide that may ban religious head coverings."

Awad said the policy regarding head coverings also would protect the religious rights of Sikh men who wear turbans, Jewish men who wear yarmulkes and Christian women who wear habits or bonnets.

Contact the writer: 402-444-1192, emily.nitcher@owh.com

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