A bakery owner in Grand Rapids, Michigan was devastated last week after a customer canceled her order upon learning the baker’s religion.
Zeinab Mohamed, the owner of Sweetcakez, claims that the customer rescinded her order after being made aware of Mohamed's Muslim last name. The customer stated that her military veteran husband could never buy a cake from a Muslim, cancelling her request for a cake by leaving a scornful message for the owner. While the baker has elected not to reveal the customer's identity in an attempt to short-circuit the cycle of hatred, she did share the buyer's hurtful, ignorant message.
Despite the fact that the bigoted fallacy of the message is painfully obvious, it is especially ironic considering that the baker’s husband, Javon Borst, is also a military veteran. Borst, who is Muslim like his wife, served three years as a medic in the United States Navy, and was especially devastated by the customer’s hateful correspondence.
The veteran highlighted the fact that he never allowed race or religion to influence his actions while saving lives in our nation’s military, stating:
I remember when I was working at Andrews Air Force Base, we lost one guy on Christmas Day as he actually landed back in the states. I was holding his hand, you know? We both had our dog tags showing because it was hot and it was very busy. We’re unloading him and he’s holding my hand and to think that none of that mattered, no one’s religious identity mattered. All that mattered was you were brothers and family. I was hurt because that’s not the broader view. I was just really let down that that could actually happen.
The baker furthered her husband’s point, saying, "It's almost as if their husband didn't realize that he fought amongst Muslims too. There are a lot of Muslim soldiers that are fighting right next to him and it's as if that didn't even matter."
Both Mohamed and Borst want the incident to be treated as a learning experience for everyone involved, highlighting the ignorance and intolerability of religious bigotry in the United States.