Two Muslim women say they were removed from a ride at a popular San Diego beachfront amusement park because they were wearing Islamic headscarves.
The women, who asked to be identified by only their first names, went to Belmont Park in Mission Beach on September 25 to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday. The day marks the end of the Hajj prayer and is recognized by Muslims all over the world.
Miski, 19, and Maryan, 23, said they were seated on the ride when the operator called over the manager.
“We offered to tuck it in,” Miski said. “We offered to sign waivers but the manager refused.”
A spokesperson for Belmont park said that employees may stop riders from wearing certain types of shoes, long hair, scarves, headwear or cell phones on some rides.
“Unfortunately, the longer flowing head scarves that wrap around the neck, pose a heightened danger of getting wrapped in mechanisms of three of our rides,” Belmont Park said in a written statement. “These rides spin and can cause such loose articles to strangle the rider. Shorter headscarves are permitted as they do not pose the same risk. “
Miski said that wasn’t the case. “Our headscarves were not loose,” she said.
The San Diego natives say they have been to Belmont Park in the past and rode on the Beach Blaster ride before without any issues.
“We’ve been to Six Flags and you would assume Six Flags is a lot more dangerous,” Maryan said. “It kind of baffles me that they would say that’s a safety issue when it’s really not.”
The students say there was no signage prohibiting headscarves on Beach Blaster.
Also, the restriction of clothing or loose articles is not included in the rules section of the Belmont Park website.
The women said wearing their headscarves is part of their religion and is non-negotiable.
“We’ve worn our headscarves our whole lives and it’s never been an issue for us,” Maryan added.
The two college students have filed a complaint against Belmont Park with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH).
The City of San Diego owns the property and may receive revenue from ticket sales, according to the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
The woman say they hope that by speaking out, they will keep this from happening to other women or girls who wear hijab at Belmont Park.