SAN DIEGO, Ca. – All Ahmed Nazari wanted for his birthday, other than to spend time with his friends and family, was a triple chocolate ice cream cake. But when the fifty-five year-old Iraq war veteran went to Jake’s Cakes, a local family owned San Diego bakery, he was astonished when the shop’s owner, Jake Howard, refused to take his order. “He told me the idea didn’t sit well with him and pointed out that as the owner, he had the right to refuse service to anyone,” Ahmed told FOX 5 San Diego.
Ahmed, who is confined to a wheel chair, lost both of his legs and three fingers on his left hand after the vehicle he was in was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade during the Iran-Iraq War. “It was only by the grace of God that I survived,” said Ahmed. Following the end of the Iran-Iraq War in 1988, Ahmed and his family immigrated to the United States where he was later granted citizenship in 1996. “I am an American,” Ahmed said. “For almost twenty years I’ve been a citizen of this country. What have I done to deserve this treatment?”
Jake Howard, a sixty-one year old former Marine, maintained his right as a business owner to refuse service, telling FOX 5 San Diego that he “didn’t feel comfortable serving Mr. Nazari, especially after what his people did to us on nine-eleven.” Upon being informed that Mr. Nazari, who is an Iraqi-American Christian, played no role whatsoever in the attacks on Washington and New York on September 11, 2001, Mr. Howard responded, saying, “It’s a matter of principle.”
The Iran-Iraq war began on September 22, 1980 when Iraq launched an air and ground invasion into Iran following a long history of border disputes. During the conflict, which lasted nearly eight years, Iraq was believed to have used chemical weapons against Iranian and Kurdish forces. More than 1.5 million people were killed as a result of the conflict.