Islamic group calls comments made by 'Burqa Bandit' ignorant

Bank robber called it the perfect disguise

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - "It is absolutely hurtful." Those are the words from the executive director of San Diego's Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, after learning the woman who dressed in a burqa and tried to rob a National City bank last summer told 10News it was the perfect disguise.

Elysia Roiz told 10News she was desperate for money to support her 2-year-old special needs son when she decided to wear a burqa to rob the Wells Fargo on Highland Avenue.

It did not work. After she passed a demand note to the teller, the teller pushed a panic button and Roiz escaped without a dime. She was arrested two months later in Tijuana.

Roiz admitted it was not fair to dress in religious garb to commit a crime. 

"I know in other countries they've outlawed it, because of people, mostly men hiding firearms inside burqas, and I don't think it was fair of me to exploit that, but what better costume, you know what I mean?" Rois asked, adding that the garment should be outlawed. "I don't want to be disrespectful, but I mean, that stuff is so oppressive, like I mean, we fought a lot in the 70s, women did, so that kind of stuff didn't happen, doesn't happen."

She added, "There's other ways to express religion."

Hanif Mohebi, the executive director of CAIR, told 10News, "It is obviously ignorance. No one has or should use any symbols or clothing of religious in order to commit any crimes." 

He added that Roiz's actions could lead to discrimination against other mothers.

"So essentially, this is a double crime," Mohebi said.

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