Western Union Responds to Dearborn Residents' Discrimination Complaint

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DEARBORN - Following a complaint against the Western Union by the Arab American Civil Rights League (ACRL) that alleged it was discriminating against Arab and Muslim customers, the money-transfer giant has issued an apology on at least one case.

Complainant Haidar Abdallah, a Dearborn resident, and a U.S. citizen, claimed that he had attempted to transfer funds to his spouse and children who were visiting family in Palestine, which was rejected by Western Union.

Abdallah said that he had used the service on numerous occasions prior, and had come across no issues when he would transfer money, around $300-$400 at a time, to Jerusalem.

However, Abdallah claimed that when he attempted to transfer to the West Bank, the company flagged him.

He was barred from using the service at any of the company’s locations.

When asked why he was wan’t able to make a transfer, the company requested additional verification information about his employment and financial background.

Even after meeting their demands, Western Union refused to reinstate his transfer privileges and had failed to provide an expaination or supplemental information related to such determination, other than deeming such action a "business decision" and asserting their right to refuse service to any person.

Abdallah said that after repeated denial from Western Union, he took his business to MoneyGram, who he said gave him no such issues.

The civil rights group noted that Abdallah was not the only victim of such treatment by Western Union. The ACRL had received similar complaints from other Arab American residents in the metro-Detroit region.

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