Beliefnet News

Beliefnet News

13 arrested when NY amusement park bans headgear on Muslim holiday

A melee broke out Tuesday afternoon at Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York, as Muslim visitors became angry when the park enforced a longstanding safety-related ban on headgear on some rides.

Park officials said the no-scarf rule on thrill rides was adopted in 2007 to avoid the risk of strangulation. It was the result of a safety study after three deaths at the park between 2004 and 2007.

Playland was crowded with Muslims celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr, the end of the month-long Ramadan daily fast. Most were from community groups in Westchester and New York City as part of a daylong event arranged by the Muslim American Society of New York, according to Rebecca Baker and Jonathan Bandler, reporting for the Westchester Journal-News.


Police in at least 60 vehicles from at least nine agencies converged on the park beginning at 3 p.m. after police asked for back-up and reported a disturbance, which reportedly involved Muslims fighting with other Muslims.

The Journal-News reported:

Two security guards were injured while breaking up a fight between visitors, and two visitors were charged with felony assault, police said. Another 13 people were arrested, most charged with disorderly conduct. Names were not released, and all those charged were released by Tuesday night.

Three accidents on Playland rides that killed two children and a park worker between 2004 and 2007 were unrelated to clothing the victims were wearing. But the headgear ban was among safety rules that went into effect after those deaths.


Accounts of what happened varied, but everyone agreed the dispute began after parkgoers were told the headgear ban applied to women wearing traditional Muslim head coverings, known as hijabs.

A park cashier told a Journal News reporter that a woman wearing a hijab either pushed or hit a ride operator who forbade her from going on the ride. She said a police officer tried to restrain the woman and the woman’s husband took offense, at which point a multiple-person fight broke out.

Brooklyn resident Amr Khater, who had come to the park about noon with his family, said his family was told about the hijab rule by park employees when they arrived.

“Everybody got mad, everybody got upset,” he said. “It’s our holiday. Why would you do this to us?”


Playland’s policies, posted on its website, include: “All items and clothing must be appropriately secured while on a ride; some smaller items can be stored/secured in cargo pockets or waist pouches. Hats must be secured, and jackets/sweaters must be worn properly and not around the waist while on a ride. Some rides do not allow backpacks, purses or head gear of any kind.”

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment jay kactuz

    The women were told in advance that headgear was not permitted on the rides. Obviously, Muslims care nothing about our rules, our values, our rights – instead they complain about anything and everything.

    A recent Pew Research Center poll released says that Muslim Americans are more satisfied with their life in the United States than the American public at large.
    Of course Muslims like America – They have rights and benefits in the US (and West) they would never have in an Islamic society – although that simple fact seems to be lost on them.

    Muslims pretend that the negative portrayal of non-Muslims in the Quran has nothing to do with them, their actions or their beliefs. The complain about us but ignore their vile treatment of non-Muslims in islamic societies. Mark my words: Nothing good will come of the presence of massive numbers of Muslims in the West.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Georgia Dude

    I am glad that someone else said what I was going to say. I completely agree with Mr. Kactuz.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dan Brandt

    Ahhhhh. The “Religion of Peace” at it again.

  • http://Weaareturningintoaathiestcountry Quentin Riha

    Just like the nutcase in California that wanted a drivers license, but would not take off her Hijab or whatever you call it. I don’t get it! Peaceful, are you kidding me, they are killing their own people and Christians are a big target.

  • Robt. Lee

    First, are these folks here legally, if not..they need to be deported back to country of origin. If here legally, they abide by our rules…not theirs. If they choose not to do so, they must do the time. We are not here to concede to the lifestyle of their country of origin. Live by our rules or get on the plane.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Cate

    Either you abide by the rules for all or get out of this country. Why do these people expect special treatment? No one invited them here.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sandee

    Our Newspapers and stations should not even allow their complaints to be heard. What if a child got their headgear tangled up on a ride and was killed. Its about safety… I can not stand stupid people and that is the worse thing you can be is STUPID.. When did it become about their headgear.. Something that was demanded by their people to cover the faces of women. Can they not realize that it is about safety.. Send them back to where they have no worth.. maybe they will then abide by our laws..

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment shelly

    I agree with all of the above statements, why does everyone that comes to our country expect special treatment? So tired of ” pleasing” everyone other religion, race.
    We have to change everything, including what we say ( so much for freedom of speech). This will not prove to be good for our children.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Daisy

    While I completely agree with the park, that the headgear could be a safety issue, it sounds like this is an issue that completely got out of hand.

    The thing I find disturbing is the reactions of people here, on a site based on faith. The hatred and vitrol being spewed is terrible. When did Muslim-bashing become an acceptable form of racism?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Charles

    They come to this country to take it over and change the laws how else did we get this current president?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Gaia

    Having masked people running around US does not appeal to me and after seeing a woman in burkha in a library in my Mid West city, I do not think that it should be allowed. Just as I would not want masked people of any kind (except for a few hours of Halloween, where I cannot see a face of the person, I do not want clothes in our public places that cover the face, which is the essence of a person.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Anita Gibson

    I’m not even crazy about masks for halloween, and double ditto for all the other comments with the exception of the very ignorant Charles!
    I was born in NYC and raised in the Bronx and my family and I come to Rye Playland, abide by the rules and have a lovely time. if I disagree with something I simply call the Park and ask that they bring my complaint up to the powers that be.You don’t take things out on the staff when they are only doing their job and if God forbid something happens to someone on their ride they are responsible if they did not adhere to what they were trained to do.Respect others!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment pam munro

    #1 it was a matter of POOR communication. Why did the park accept Muslim groups when they knew that so many rides were banned for safety reasons? #2 Considering the litigious nature of today’s consumer – having dafety restructions is not unreasonable – esp. in consideration of the 2 death at the park. #3 If the scarf is religious, then it sometimes means sacrifice – so be it #4 I myself as a student was confronted years ago by the NYPD in the Columbia riots of ’68 – They had billy clubs & were ready to go. That aspect is irrespective of persons or religious backgrounds. Welcome to America.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Linda

    Have them sign a release. Let them wear their scarves. If one gets caught and strangles the wearer there are benefits for both sides. They got their way and we have one less to worry about.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment FRANK

    well said Robt.Lee, do you all know that if you are travelling to Saudi Arabia and are carrying a holy Bible in your baggage, if found the guys at the customs will shred it to pieces, what a shame when they are told to respect all religion, christians are not allowed to celebrate Mass in saudi arabia, not even in your own house. THESE GUYS WANT ALL THE RELIGIOUS FREEDOM IN OUR CHRISTIAN COUNTRIES

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Kathleen Firth-Comerford

    You can’t have it both ways, you can’t have it all ways. The safety rules don’t match your religious outfit. You can’t go on the ride. Why is that a mystery? End of story. Respect the rules of the establishment. It’s their way, or the highway. Get it? Good.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sandee

    First of all I really doubt that many Muslims will ever see these postings except for the few converts in the US. Secondly shame on all of you, is this how God tells us to act assuredly not! Now I will say that when in another country you should abide by the rules of that country. Why would you take a Bible to a non-christian country? Besides you should have Gods Word in your heart. I can forgive you for being so defensive,and will pray for all of you and the Muslims too, but know this you are wasting time on foolishness when you should be ready for the trumpet to sound. Forgive them Lord for they know not what they do.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment dvanilla

    This country does not have to accept anyone from any other country. It’s not like anyone from outside the United States are homeless. Reason is they have a native land and they come here rebelling against authority. Send them back this is a sign we are all at risk not just with them but others non-citizens too.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Erik

    Imagine if, as Christians, we were all required to wear a crucifix around our neck at all times. Regardless of the situation, taking it off is an affront to God in this hypothetical situation. Now imagine that you go to a park, pay the admission, and are not allowed some of the benefits of said park because “neck wear” is not allowed. Rationally, looking at this situation from a distance, it’s easy to see that the people are in the wrong. They were given fair warning that their apparel would not be permitted and should have adjusted accordingly; but in the moment, were this scenario to ever play out with any of you in the Muslim’s shoes, you would be upset, insulted, emotional, and likely irrational as well. Maybe we could try a little sympathy rather than spewing vitriol like ignorant jerks? Just a suggestion. Sites like this are the reason I turned away from faith, you preach one thing and practice another.

    All that being said, the people commenting on this site are right to a certain extent. The Muslims were warned about their headgear and should have planned for the situation accordingly. That is the rational answer. But a situation like this is often rational from the side of the authorities (who often, when being disobeyed, shift from ration to emotion rather quickly); it appears to be a simple, rational situation to those of us looking at the situation from outside, with hindsight; however, the Muslims in this case were on the side where emotion can quickly take over and displace ration. Does that make their actions excusable? No. But it does make them understandable, and I thought Christianity was about understanding others. Now as for the comments on this site, they are not understandable and filled with hate solely out of ignorance and a lack of empathy.

    I’m sorry if my post upset anyone, I was looking up information on theme park bans and stumbled upon this site. I just felt that on this mostly one sided thread, someone needed to make a case for sympathy.

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