Twitter Alert: Prayers, protests and a cup of coffee

Published: July 22, 2012
Twitterati slam diner who claims she was denied space to pray inside local cafe's premises.

Twitterati slam diner who claims she was denied space to pray inside local cafe's premises.

Local coffee shop and cafe Espresso was at the centre of a social media flurry on Sunday, following an online protest led by an irate diner who claimed she was denied space to pray inside the cafe’s premises.

While those in support of the diner launched a protest across Facebook calling for the waiter who dealt with the diner to be fired, Twitter users were quick to come to Espresso’s defence, condemning the protest.

Top tweets

Arisha Haider

Ok so the aunty is making fuss of not getting a place to pray but what exactly was she doing at #Espresso in roza timing?

Awais Masood

#Espresso Religiosity within Pakistani elite is the most hypocritical and ugly thing I have ever seen in my life

Rizwan Liaqat

Just read about the #Espresso incident. If I remember correctly, they had a space for praying under the stairs last year.

Tooba Hatif Farooqi

Whats the big deal if there wasn’t a place to pray? Use the chair ppl! my work place doesnt have praying area am I protesting? no? #Espresso

zulfiqar haider

RT @PartyLiciouS_FS: Protest outside #Espresso #Lahore just coz they dun have space 4 women 2 pray? Bottom line ridiculous n waste of time!

Shoaib Taimur

What’s wrong with twitter? 2loony men have screamed defamation, people are obsessing over the #espresso incident. Stop taking it seriously.

madeeha syed

And I’m going to say it again: Leave #Espresso alone!!

marium arif

Can someone please knock some sense into both the #Espressoprotesters and their opposers…with a baseball bat? #ShutUpAlready

Fasi Zaka

I personally think #espresso was just afraid that veena malik might pop in to pray now that Hero TV won’t let her.

Bee Nish

There is a prayer area at #Espresso it’s called a chair. U face it towards qibla and pray. No one will stop u.


I went to Pizza Hut this morning at 3am for sehri and they were shut!! I demand an apology & ask them to open so I can eat. #espresso

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (37)

  • Jul 22, 2012 - 6:18PM

    Idiotic protest, seriously. I have been to Espresso a couple of times and never faced problems. And I agree with Bee Nish, you can use the chair and pray. The restaurant is spacious enough to accommodate modest number of customers but not spacious enough to turn it into a mosque.


  • Azhar Khan
    Jul 22, 2012 - 7:27PM

    It’s a cafe,not a mosque.Why are pressure tactics being used against Espresso? If the lady wanted to pray,she should have gone to a mosque.Pressurising restaurants to bow down before intimidation and forcing them to become religious places is a disturbing trend.It’s a cafe,not a place of worship,if religious rituals were so important to the person protesting,she should have done Iftari at home and then gone out for coffee later.


  • Saira Habib
    Jul 22, 2012 - 7:30PM

    Why is a cafe being blackmailed like this by the religious segment of our society? Don’t we have enough religiosity on the dozens of tv channels? Why must religious rituals be shoved upon people everywhere.Espresso has a right to remain a cafe,it shouldn’t be coerced into becoming a madrassa.


  • Beenish Amjad
    Jul 22, 2012 - 7:34PM

    Why can’t they leave us alone,it’s pretty simple,if she wanted to pray she should have opened her fast in a mosque,why is she forcing her religious beliefs onto the rest of society by force and threats of protests.there is a worship place in cafes,it’s called a chair,turn it towards kaaba & start praying,instead of trying to get public’s attention for one’s self.Recommend

  • Jul 22, 2012 - 7:48PM

    I think i missed something!! So two ladies didn’t get a place to pray? I agree that we can use chairs, or how about go to the car?? No every cafe or restaurant has a place to pray- no one needs to get so upset. Not the people who feel that people who want to pray are converting the restaurant into a madrassa and nor should the people wanting to pray. One more thing, not everyone who goes to eat at a restaurant is an elitist.

    We need to learn how to communicate- unfortunately, the culture of belittling your ‘opponent’ is prevalent. Instead of being a united country, you all fight for the smallest things and divide yourself into camps or groups. Jeez, grow up.


  • Jul 22, 2012 - 7:51PM

    People, your missing the point, it is not about whether they allowed or did not allow a lady to pray at their establishment, the issue is that they are very rude when it comes to enforcing and protecting their policies, it is their bitter rudeness which turns people bitter towards them This is not about religion at all. Recommend

  • Waiting
    Jul 22, 2012 - 8:04PM

    Well thank God she was put in her place!


  • Brainsucker
    Jul 22, 2012 - 8:15PM

    Though I do think that the lady must not make a fuss out of the situation, but seriously to the people commenting above ” Why is she forcing her religious beliefs “, Hello, its not only her religious beliefs I guess the name of the our country contains the word “Islamic Republic” , if you so called hypocrites have forgotten.Another interesting comment is why we would be blackmailed by the religious segment, Bibi you are not residing in UK or USA if in a Muslim Country I have a right to practice my religion and I expect others to do the same if I ask them a favour for a place to offer my “obligatory prayers”.Recommend

  • Confused
    Jul 22, 2012 - 8:40PM

    I thought you went to a cafe for food and a mosque to pray?


  • Tania Majeed
    Jul 22, 2012 - 9:05PM

    No,other people are not supposed to bow down before your demands,this is pakistan,not the Middle East.We won’t be threatened and bullied by religious extremists anymore.Enough is enough,stop imposing your rituals onto the rest of society.If the lady wanted to pray,she should have stayed at home,forcing business establishments to cater to the whims of religious people is one step too far.
    Religion is a private matter,it can’t be imposed onto people by force or threats.Pressurizing cafes to cater to special demands is the logic of the woman complaining,people should start going to masjids,asking them to set up a special space for coffee parties.


  • Abdul Sami
    Jul 22, 2012 - 9:12PM

    I was taught that there is no compulsion in my religion,than why are people forcing restaurants to give them special treatment? Running campaigns to force cafes to give preferential treatment to the religous is a grave offence.Forcing others to be religous by threats and bullying is no way a part of Islam,you shouldn’t compel other people to perform more religous one accepts anything from the heart if it is imposed on them through bullying and intimidation.Espresso should not surrender before the campaign being run against it.If you give them an inch,they’ll demand more the next time.


  • Brainsucker
    Jul 22, 2012 - 9:31PM

    @Tania MAjeed: Yes, the lady should have prayed in masjid or at home but what if she is travelling, away from home or she though she would miss the maghrib time, there is no harm if the cafe provides her a space if there is one available. No one is forcing you to pray,so stop manipulating the argument..Recommend

  • Umer
    Jul 22, 2012 - 9:55PM

    How many mosques have spaces for women to pray?


  • Bisharat Baloch
    Jul 22, 2012 - 11:10PM

    I think the protesting lady should have gone to the mosque to pray. But wait, women in Pakistan are not allowed in mosques, which is a place of worship. Hmmm. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Which would be a more appropriate place to protest outside of? A place to eat that doesn’t allow a woman to pray, or a place to pray that doesn’t allow a woman to pray?


  • HK
    Jul 23, 2012 - 1:51AM

    “I think the protesting lady should have gone to the mosque to pray. But wait, women in Pakistan are not allowed in mosques, which is a place of worship. Hmmm. Makes you think, doesn’t it? Which would be a more appropriate place to protest outside of? A place to eat that doesn’t allow a woman to pray, or a place to pray that doesn’t allow a woman to pray?”

    I dare anyone to provide a counter argument to Mr. Baloch’s logic…I dare the lady who was not accommodated at Cafe to go stand infront of a Mosque and demand to offer her Namaz standing/sitting next to the rest of the male-only participants. If the rest of us discourage you to not wave your religious beliefs in our faces we are considered intolerant and not respecting the socio cultural norms of our land-of-the-pure (?) but try and demand similar freedom from the so called reps of Islam and they will kick your teeth in!


  • Jul 23, 2012 - 2:27AM

    It wouldn’t KILL Espresso to try to slightly accomodate people coming in for Iftar. If lack of space is the problem then fine but why not try? Can’t understand why people are shocked at the thought of someone wanting to pray after breaking their fast in cafe? Would be convenient for those fasting.

    As a friend said to me today, “it isn’t about wanting to pray post iftaar or the cafe not having space. Its about how volatile and aggressive we as a nation have become”.


  • Amaar
    Jul 23, 2012 - 3:14AM

    Next thing mullah-mizaaj will demand is to turn this place into a masjid?


  • Khalid Shah
    Jul 23, 2012 - 3:53AM

    Every1 should remember that Pak is an Islamic state and therefore secular comments or behaviour should not be acceptable in Pakistan.


  • Khalid Aziz
    Jul 23, 2012 - 4:55AM

    Its normal for restaraunts n cafe’s to take advantage of Iftar business during Ramazan but at the same time they normally ensure having some space (if not inside, outside in the open) for maghrib prayers. Is it such a big deal, keeping in view the golden principle of “customer satisfaction”? I would not like to go to a restaraunt for Iftar dinner where I have to walk half a kilometer to say my Maghrib prayers in a mosque and to march all the way back have my dinner. Common business sense should prevail. Its all about the way a business entity respects its customers and clients. All friends are requested not to give it a religious/liberal coloring. Happy fasting :)


  • Osman
    Jul 23, 2012 - 10:48AM

    I can’t speak about Pakistan, but I can say that in the USA it would be completely fine to pray anywhere (or practice any kind of religious act) as long as it doesn’t affect other people. Personally, I’ve prayed in corners of classrooms, airports, tennis courts, and movie theaters, and the American (non-Muslim) people have been, alhamdulilah, extremely respectful and accomodating. In fact, when I was in middle school (age 11), upon hearing that Muslims must pray five times a day, my non-Muslim classmates banded together and offered to demand that the school administration give me a prayer room as well as time off from class. On a United Airlines flight, when I asked a flight attendant if there was a place I could pray, she dutifully led me to the kitchen area and stood by me while I prayed, “defending” me. During a final exam, I asked the TA (administering the exam) for five minutes to pray, and she seemed happy (and supportive of the idea) to let me pray in a corner.

    From my understanding of Islam, one should not pray in hallways, doorways, or any other place where it might disturb others. In my opinion, this is a moderate viewpoint which Pakistanis (whether secular or religious) can agree upon – to pray anywhere as long as it doesn’t affect others. If you’re praying in a corner and are not in anyone else’s way, it should be completely fine. On the other hand, if you’re praying in the middle of a room and could disturb others, there’s nothing wrong being asked to pray somewhere else.


  • fatima
    Jul 23, 2012 - 1:10PM

    Of course there is no harm in REQUESTING a place to pray at a shop or a restaurant. And yes it would also be great if these restaurants and shops could accommodate people. There is nothing wrong with asking. But there is plenty wrong with creating a big fuss and trying to get people fired if they cannot accommodate you! It is not their job to help you offer your obligatory prayers. If they do let you pray, great. If they don’t, go and find another place to pray. It’s that simple.


  • Pessimist
    Jul 23, 2012 - 1:54PM

    Few facts everyone seeems to be missing here are:
    1. Espresso does accommodate ppl who wish to pray inside their outlets. On tht particular day thr has been some misunderstanding for which the management has apologized to the lady.
    2. Women are NOT supposed to pray in front of NA MAHIRUM. Isn’t it? That lady surely had some side agenda.
    3. I actually know Anam and she lives on a 5 minute drive from Espresso. So the question arises, why didnt she go to her home for praying?
    4. Last but not the least. She mentioned in her post that she went to Espresso at Maghrib time and was denied the praying space. She actually went there at around 11:30 as one of her friends, who’s my school buddy tells me.


  • Jul 23, 2012 - 1:59PM

    I agree with you. Why is it that things back home seem so easy!! Pakistan’s getting a bit upset over small things. I hope Allah blesses EVERYONE with Hidayah Ameen.


  • Ayesha
    Jul 23, 2012 - 2:09PM

    If you wish to fuss so much about where you pray and how you pray, then choose to stay at home around prayer times. In Dubai where as most resturants have prayer areas, many times Iftar is in Ramadan Tents with no designated prayer space for women. Bottom line, as a muslima who has concerns of where I pray… I stay at home for Iftar.

    Stop making Islam difficult!


  • Petrified-
    Jul 23, 2012 - 4:44PM

    As far as I know, Islam talks about balance and its the simplicity of our religion that makes it so unique. It talks about the human nature at its very basics.. But sadly we as a society have adapted what seems to be a rather “self-destructive” notion to make things complicated, feeding our ego and bending things the way they suit us.

    Its not just the lady who is making a fuss out of a simple matter of communication, but instead we all are quite used to doing that (don’t get all the attention though) but still.. We do this just because we’ll have a good time and everything will be back to business as usual..

    The fact of the matter is, that we are too scared to step out of our own comfort zone.. We have all the time in the world to discuss about a cafe that denied praying area and a lady who found no other place in the world to pray apart from a coffee shop.. but hardly anyone (including me) would step up and make a difference about the blood stream that flows through out the country every other day or about the corrupted leaders who would not stop until the last brick of this country is sold to foreign forces etc etc.. Why would we stand up for that?? Its too much work and its risky.. ain’t it?? so the simplest way out is to act dumb and pretend everything is alright..

    Ramzan teaches us about patience and unfortunately that is the only thing that we do not have..


  • Irate Espresso Loving Muslim
    Jul 23, 2012 - 11:22PM

    Lol I’m loving how people are focused on lashing out at the girl who wanted to pray that one of the pillars of Islam has now turned into a religious belief for some Muslims while not so much for other Muslims.

    Sure the lady created a fuss over something that could have easily been accommodated, but people plz don’t go on totally misrepresenting Islam.

    And during Ramzan it’s only natural to expect people to request for a place to pray. See what happens in Ramzan is that you get to open ur roza when the sun sets. That’s called maghrib, which is also one of the prayer times. So at Iftar what usually happens is that Azaan for maghrib prayers is usually the signal to open ur fast or start ur iftar. See where I’m going with this? The missing link between Iftar and prayers and how normal that request was?

    Which is why most restaurants offer areas for ppl to pray at at iftar times,like Pizza Hut, Nandos (international chain) .But given Espresso’s size, it makes sense that there might have been a space issue, so the person who needed to pray should have considered another alternative.

    At the same time ppl don’t lose sight of what Islam really is. So whenever u guys are slamming people who create a fuss in the name of religion plz don’t end up slamming the religion.

    Oh and mosques do have separate spaces for women to pray. In Pakistan, in Karachi. You just need to go to the mosque in order to find out.


  • Irate Espresso Loving Muslim
    Jul 23, 2012 - 11:35PM

    Ooh and forgot to mention that asking for the server to be fired was just plain wrong.
    That’s mostly where the lady who wants to pray was waaaaaay out of line.


  • amused
    Jul 23, 2012 - 11:58PM

    @Irate Espresso Loving Muslim: i know the ‘lady’. she never ever suggested he be fired. i now know first hand how people twist storied to cause controversy. the issue was more about the that they were uncompromising, rude and disrespectful.


  • Irate Espresso Loving Muslim
    Jul 24, 2012 - 12:16AM

    There you go!
    Controversy and story twisting at its best.
    Moral of the story:
    Let live, let pray and A revision of customer service 101.


  • AA
    Jul 24, 2012 - 12:38AM

    Clearly this has turned into a fiasco that could have easily been avoided.

    I have to agree, there is always the car, the chair or the mosque a 2 minute drive away. So what are we going to do, one by one shut down the few places we are offered a bit of recreation, entertainment, leisure and sanity because they are open for take away during Ramadan? Don’t have a built in mosque or prayer arrangements? Play unIslamic music in the background?

    To the damsel that has caused this and the crusader: I really hope you see the immaturity of your actions and end this bizarre war on Espresso.


  • Ayesha
    Jul 25, 2012 - 11:37PM

    @Irate Espresso Loving Muslim: Yes, mosques often do have separate areas for women. If it is a small mosque, they make a separate area for women….outside the air conditioned mosque…hmm…


  • Irate Espresso Loving Muslim
    Jul 25, 2012 - 11:47PM

    Lol I dunno where u go to pray Ayesha but ppl who barely wish there women to be out in the public don’t put their women outside the vicinity to pray. I realize how sexist that statement sounded but it’s true. Go to hilal park’s mosque, in the women’s prayer area u’ll see what I mean. Or try Aisha masjid. Heck first go to a mosque and then find out.


  • muslim
    Jul 27, 2012 - 1:21AM

    First of all when this incident occurred it was not ramazan so please get the facts right . When you live in a Muslim country there should be arrangement’s available for a person to pray irrespective of the placed being public or private and the fact is that espresso didn’t have that facility so instead of arguing about that person going to the mosque or sitting on the chair and praying espresso should have had a suitable arrangement’s for people to pray. No one has asked espresso to accommodate Eid prayers or to have a space for 100 people to pray in there restaurant, there should at least be space for 2 to 3 people to pray if not then atleast for 1 person. For all these people in support for espresso all i can say is that you probably haven’t prayed in years or maybe you aren’t Muslims so please stop giving anti Islamic opinions and start respect the religion . You all have the freedom of speech but before using it think twice about what you say as this issue is not about espresso and the fact that you get your favorite sandwich’s there which are the best in the world rather this is a issues concerning the main religion of our country, which would also be need to address to other public places around Pakistan


  • Shoaib Khan
    Aug 4, 2012 - 3:15AM

    Am agree with Muslim, and disagree all the Espresso Anti-Islamics/Non-Muslims.

    .. If you have problem with Islam? then the there are too many ways to get out from a placed where most of the peoples are Muslims.



  • Aiman
    Aug 8, 2012 - 2:48AM

    The most basic point of the situation: why accommodate a fast (i.e through their iftari deals etc) and then not provide any space for an accompanying religious obligation? Hence the flaw in the pro-espresso supporters’ argument. I really don’t know how thick headed our liberals are going to get :/


    Aug 9, 2012 - 10:52PM

    If there is no place earmarked for prayers go to a nearby mosque or go home. Why create fuss just to show off your religiosity? If you have to pray please don’t leave your house at Iftar time. Do not disturb others in espresso or any coffee shop. If you have to say your Namaz then carry your Janamaz under your arms and lay it behind the espresso shop and fulfill your religious duty.


  • Sara
    Sep 11, 2012 - 8:45PM

    Remind me next time to demand a cup of coffee from my local mosque.. oh wait they don’t have a female praying section…..


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