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Arab American civil rights group resolves complaint against Western Union

Western Union sign.
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Western Union sign.

The American Arab Civil Rights League says it’s resolved a discrimination complaint against Western Union.

The ACRL filed a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, after the money-transfer service had cut off service to Haidar Abdallah, an Arab-American man from Metro Detroit.

ACRL director Rula Aoun said Western Union refused to continue doing business with Abdallah after asking for information about his employment and financial background. And the company never explained its actions.

“One of his concerns and one of our concerns was their refusal to give any reason why he was denied from using the services,” Aoun said.

But Aoun says earlier this month, Western Union issued a statement saying that Abdallah would again be permitted to send and receive funds, and "apologizing for the overall experience, and the difficulties he had interacting with Western Union."

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Aoun says the company has still never clarified why it suspended Abdallah’s service.

“But I do know that whatever it was that clarified the issue could have been done at the outset,” she said. “There was no need for us to file a complaint in order to have this issue resolved. Clearly it could have been resolved initially between him and the company.”

Aoun says the ACRL is pleased this case was resolved, but also concerned because it wasn’t the first time they have had incidents like this reported to them recently about Western Union -- all from people of “Arab American or Muslim background.”

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