A group of Muslims, enraged over the ban on wearing any type of headgear on certain rides at the Rye Playland Amusement Park, began a fight ending in 15 arrests and 2 security guards injured.
Not Told Ahead of Time About the Ban
According to Westchester officials the fault lies with the tour operator, who failed to inform the group of 3,000 Muslims from the Muslim American Society of New York that hats, scarves and all other forms of headgear are not allowed on some of the park’s most popular rides. The ban is imposed as a safety measure, as the county parks Deputy Commissioner Peter Tartaglia explained:
“Our . . . policy is designed to protect the safety of patrons . . . Depending on the ride, it can become a projectile that hurts someone else, or it could strangle you if it got caught on something. “
Decided to Go Home Early
The disappointed visitors decided to forego their trip to the park when they discovered the rule. As they lined up to get their refunds from the park management, at about 2:30pm, the group began to fight among themselves. When security officials began to intervene to break up the fighting, the fighting only became worse, with the unhappy visitors beginning to beat the guards.
One witness, Lola Ali, age 16 from Queens said that “The guards were beating down the girls, then they started beating down the guys as they came to their aid.”
The lawyer representing the Brooklyn based Muslim American Society, Sharif Aly, said, “There is a lot of misinformation out there. It was meant to be a day of celebration and community.”
Its a Safety Issue
Tartaglia denied the ban on headgear is in anyway discriminatory:
“We don’t discriminate,” he insisted. “A baseball cap is headgear. This policy was repeatedly articulated to the tour operator, but, unfortunately, the message did not reach some of the members of his group.”
As a result of the brawl the park was closed down to any new visitors, in addition to the 15 arrests and 2 injuries.