15 arrested after Muslims, cops clash at New York theme park

Liz Goodwin
The Lookout

Twelve men and three women were arrested Tuesday after a headscarf ban at a New York theme park angered some of the 3,000 Muslims celebrating the end of Ramadan at the facility.

The New York Daily News says a woman who was seeking a refund after she learned of the ban began arguing with the police. A witness says police pushed her to the ground and arrested her when she began yelling, and then male relatives tried to intervene and were also arrested. A hundred cops descended on the park, the Daily News reported, and Rye Playland was shut down for two hours.

"She just wanted to get on a ride. That was it," 18-year-old Dena Meawad told The Daily News of her friend. "It's clear, this all happened because we're Muslim."

The people who run the theme park are blaming the Muslim American Society of New York for the melee, saying that its organizers failed to tell the 3,000 participants that many of the park's most popular rides do not allow head scarves.

"Our policy is designed to protect the safety of patrons," Westchester County Deputy Commissioner Peter Tartaglia told the New York Post. "Depending on the ride, it can become a projectile that hurts someone else, or it could strangle you if it got caught on something." Rye Playland's website provides a list of rides that do permit headgear.