Woman says she was asked to remove hijab at Playland

Posted: Updated:
RYE -

A Muslim woman says she was told she couldn't ride the go-karts at Rye Playland unless she removed her hijab.

Latoya Bannister took her three children to the Playland Amusement Park in Rye on Sunday. The Bronx woman says she waited on line for the ride and when she got to the end, a Playland attendant told her she needed to remove her hijab or not ride the ride.

"This is a religious reason why my head is covered and it does not specify in the safety rules," Bannister says.

Customers are given a sheet that lists all of the rules in the park. The rules state head gear is not allowed on the go-karts or Super Flight ride, two of approximately 50 rides in the park. The same warning can be found on signs in front of the rides. But there is no specific definition of what the park considers to be head gear. 

Officials say head gear is anything worn on the head, like a baseball cap, helmet, Yakama or hijab.

"There have been reported accidents in other parks of strangulation, scalp removal, so there are very serious accidents," says Deputy Commissioner of Westchester County Parks Peter Tartaglia. "We want everyone here, regardless of religion, race and orientation to have a good time."

Playland says there is no religious bias at the park, and says the reason for the removal request was solely because of safety.

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