New York: An amusement park here refused
entry to a group of Muslim women to sit on certain rides
unless they removed their `hijabs`, a move which led to a
scuffle and arrest of at least 15 people.
The scuffle at the amusement park at Rye here yesterday
led to the complex being shut down temporarily.
The women had come to the park as part of a trip organised
by the Muslim American Society of New York to celebrate the
end of the holy month of Ramadan.
About 3,000 people were expected to be part of the group,
travelling from New York City, as well as surrounding suburbs
like Yonkers and parts of Long Island.
Events took a turn for the worse when some female members
of the group, wearing head scarves, were told they could not
get on certain rides because their heads were covered by the
A park supervisor also presented a list of rides that
would require the women to remove their scarves.
Commissioner of the Westchester County Parks Department
Kathleen O`Connor said the group became "frustrated as they
couldn`t get on the rides".
According to park officials, disappointed customers were
offered a refund when about 20 members of the group started
Some members of the group said the fight began when a park
employee touched a Muslim woman.
The department`s deputy commissioner Peter Tartaglia said
a couple of park rangers intervened when the group members
began pushing and shoving.
One ranger sustained an injured shoulder and the other an
Fifteen men and women were arrested and charged after the
scuffle, county officials said, without specifying whether all
of them were members of the tour group.
The arrested were later released.
County officials said the women were asked to remove their
head scarves under the park`s safety policy and that the
organisers had been warned about it.
"We told them several times we have what we call a
headgear policy, meaning there are certain rides where you
can`t wear headgear of any sorts," Tartaglia said.