[Marxism] Cops, Muslims clash over amusement park headscarf ban
ffeldman at verizon.net
Wed Aug 31 06:56:38 MDT 2011
New York Daily News
.Muslims, police scuffle at Rye Playland over amusement park's head
scarf ban; 15 arrests made
BY Corinne Lestch and Bill Hutchinson
DAILY NEWS WRITERS
Wednesday, August 31st 2011, 4:00 AM
Rye Playland was shut down Tuesday after cops scuffled with Muslims
upset that women wearing head scarves were barred from the rides,
Fifteen people, including three women, were charged with disorderly
conduct and assault in the chaos, authorities said.
The Westchester County park was packed with Muslims celebrating
Eid-ul-Fitr - the holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of
One woman, Entisai Ali, began arguing with cops over the amusement
park's head scarf, or hijab, rule, said Dena Meawad, 18, of Bay Ridge,
The ban, which is not Muslim specific, was imposed about 3 years ago
mostly to prevent hats from falling onto the tracks of roller coasters
and other rides, park officials said.
"The cops started getting loud with her and she started getting loud,
too. They pushed her on the ground and arrested her," Meawad said.
Her cousin, Kareem Meawad, 17, went to try to protect the woman and was
beaten by cops and also arrested, she added. Her brother, Issam Meawad,
20, was pushed to the ground and taken into custody when he tried to
help his cousin, she said.
"She just wanted to get on a ride. That was it," Dena Meawad said of the
initial confrontation. "It's clear, this all happened because we're Muslim."
John Hodges, chief inspector of Westchester County Public Safety,
insisted that police did not use excessive force.
He said up to 100 cops from surrounding departments converged on the park.
Two park rangers were injured in the melee, prompting felony assault
charges against two people arrested, officials said.
'It's clear, this all happened because we're Muslim,' says Dena Meawad.
(Norman Y. Lono for News).
The ugly incident happened just after 1 p.m. The event was organized by
the Muslim American Society of New York, and attracted 3,000 Muslims
from Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Westchester County.
Ali's sister, Ayman Alrabah, 24, of Brooklyn said her husband, brother
and father were all tackled by cops and put into handcuffs when they
tried to help her sister.
Alrabah said she was unaware of the head-scarf rule until she and her
sister tried to get on the park's Dragon Coasters.
"We requested a refund and all of a sudden an argument became a riot,"
Alrabah said. "Cops came. They were hitting my brother, my dad. My
husband was on the floor and they were handcuffing him.
She said her 4-year-old son was "traumatized" by seeing his father arrested.
"They treated us like animals, like we were nothing," Alrabah said.
"They came with their dogs and sticks. We came to have fun."
The park was closed for about two hours because of the fracas. It
reopened at about 6 p.m.
Peter Tartaglia, deputy commissioner of Westchester County Parks, said
the Muslim American Society of New York was warned in advance of the
rule barring head scarves on rides for safety reasons.
"Part of our rules and regulations, which we painstakingly told them
over and over again, is that certain rides you cannot wear any sort of
headgear," Tartaglia said. "It's a safety issue for us on rides, it
could become a projectile."
Many Muslims were given refunds as they left the park disappointed.
"In this heightened state of Islamaphobia, a woman wearing a hajib is an
easy target these days," said Zead Ramadan, president of the Council on
American-Islamic Relations - New York. "Unfortunately, this turned ugly
due to a lot of miscommunication."
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