Between 30 and 40 American Muslims fought with security officials at Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York Tuesday afternoon in an incident that eventually escalated to include dozens of police officers from Rye and neighboring towns, a police helicopter, two injuries to park rangers, and fifteen Muslims arrested — two charged with felony assault, most of the rest charged with disorderly conduct.
It began with a group outing organized by the Muslim American Society of New York, to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr (the Muslim holiday celebrating the end of Ramadan). The group organizers had been informed ahead of time (“painstakingly,” park officials add) about long-standing and safety regulations prohibiting the wearing of headgear on some rides, and visitors were told again when they entered the park; but a group of women and girls wearing hijabs went to the security office to complain about the policy, refused to leave, pushing ensued, handcuffs came out, Muslim men intervened and, as one visitor later said, “the situation went downhill from there.”
(There were reports of an incident earlier on the day, which began when a woman struck a ride operator who would not allow her on a ride, followed by police trying to restrain her, her husband intervening and, to a lesser degree than the later melee, the situation went downhill from there)
The question really is, in a multi-cultural society, how should — or how can — an amusement park handle this sort of thing?