Update: Secret Service Takes Blame for Sending Muslim Waiter Home

December 11, 2003

Source: The Washington Post


On December 11, 2003 The Washington Post reported that "the Secret Service took responsibility yesterday for sending an Arab American waiter home from his job at a Baltimore hotel before a presidential fundraiser last week. But it said the decision resulted from confusion over his work schedule, rather than from ethnic or religious discrimination. While expressing regret over the incident, the Secret Service also stopped short of offering the apology that the waiter, Mohamad I. Pharoan, 58, has sought. Pharoan, a Syrian-born Muslim who immigrated to the United States in 1992 and became a citizen in 1996, was told to go home shortly after he arrived Friday morning at the Hyatt Regency at the Inner Harbor, where he has worked for seven years. He had expected to help serve lunch to 550 people at a banquet at which President Bush raised $1 million for his reelection campaign. Instead, he says, he was given a few minutes to change clothes and was escorted off the premises after a manager asked him one question: 'Is your name Mohamad?' Last week, the Secret Service denied that it had requested the hotel's management to dismiss Pharoan for the day. But a spokesman said yesterday that after further review, the Secret Service found it was responsible."