According to the AP, more American Muslims feel targeted by the U. S. Government today than ever before. This is suprising given the amount of attention payed to 90 year old grannies and four year olds by the TSA and Homeland Security. According to a new poll done by the Pew Research Center, over half of Muslim Americans say anti terrorism efforts target them specifically.
Of course this is par for the course. Instead of speaking out against Islamic Extremists, refusing to attend mosques that preach hate and fully joining American society; we have instances like this one at Rye Playland in New York, where a violent disturbance broke out over a head gear policy.
The Westchester County park was packed with Muslims celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr – the holiday marking the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
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, Brooklyn.
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.
This is a simple case of a safety rule being flouted in the name of one’s religion. Of course the Park has to protect the public by having restrictions on apparel and things that can be carried on rides. The other problem is one of simply yielding to authority. When asked to remove headgear to access an amusement park ride or offered the option of a refund from the park, there is no reason for anger. In this case, once informed that they could receive refunds, the group loudly confronted park employees in anger. The police were called and the park was shut down for two hours. All of this was unnecessary. Let’s practice civility and know the rules before going out to public parks. That’s pretty simple.
UPDATE: A commenter on Smart Girl Politics noted that this was absolutely no accident. The article mentioned above notes that the Muslims were notified before they arrived that there was a longstanding policy in relation to ANY headgear. Some rides would not permit any headgear. But the Muslims proceeded to arrive in headgear and demand access. Is this a coincidence? Or was this orchestrated to perpetuate an atmosphere of being oppressed? I agree that there is an obvious overtone of defying order that is obvious here. Time will tell if there was another motive behind this display in New York.