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Theme Park Brawl after Head Scarf-Wearing Muslim Women Banned from Rides

  • Religion Today Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2011 Sep 01

A report in the Daily Mail states that Rye Playland in New York was forced to temporarily shut its gates to visitors August 30 when a mass brawl broke out after Muslim women were banned from rides unless they removed their headscarves. Two rangers at the theme park were injured and 15 people, including three women, were arrested in the scuffle, charged with disorderly conduct and assault. Muslim visitors involved in the fight accused police of brutality and claimed they were treated 'like animals'. One said: "It's clear, this all happened because we're Muslim." Roughly 3,000 of the park's 6,000 visitors that day were in a Muslim tour group celebrating the end of Ramadan. Trouble flared when women wearing Muslim hijab scarves were refused entry to rides which banned any head coverings and offered refunds. Parks official Peter Tartaglia said that the Muslim American Society of New York had been "painstakingly" advised of the rule many times before its tour took place, and defended the policy against head coverings on rides for safety reasons, since scarves can become entangled in mechanical parts, choke riders or fly off and land in a ride's tracks. A spokesman for the Muslim American Society of New York said it plans to investigate what happened.