Asian and Arab American gas station owners in Chicago are accusing city inspectors of targeting them – and in some cases, shutting down their businesses – because of their race.
The gas station owners told Chicago’s FOX 32 they had been cited for minor violations that could have been resolved without closure.
“They came in and gave us a list of violations which could have been corrected if they gave us some time, but they decided to close us,” gas station owner Aysar Abushanab told the outlet.
“Every day that I come to work, I am always in fear that this task force that resembles the insurrection of January 6th will attack our gas station and shut us down without notice,” said another gas station owner, Saad Malley.
Multiple gas station owners are now calling upon the City of Chicago Council to intervene.
In a statement to Fox News, Ald. Raymond Lopez of the 15th Ward suggested that these business owners were caught in the crossfire of Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s tactics to reduce gang violence.
“It is ironic that, two days after Mayor Lightfoot declared that 9/11 gave rise to much anti-Arab hatred in America, she herself – in declaring war against gang terrorists – is also targeting Arab business owners in mostly African American communities. Lightfoot is once again showing she does not understand how to address violence in a nuanced manner, rather choosing blanket policies that target entire demographics and play on local stereotypes.”
A spokesperson for the City of Chicago told Fox News that the City has been working closely with gas station owners to ensure compliance with the municipal code.
The Deputy Mayor, several senior leaders from various departments, and the Chicago Police Department hosted a roundtable for gas station owners two weeks ago, she said.
The spokesperson said that as a follow-up to the business owners’ requests, the City is providing business liaison teams and code checklists to businesses to engage on affirmative compliance.