State Asked to Investigate Religious Discrimination Claim

Bob Egelko, SFGate, April 30, 2014

When 13-year-old Noorah Abdo went with her family in August to the Boomers amusement park in Livermore, the ride she especially looked forward to was the go-karts. But when she got to the ticket window, she was told her head scarf, which she wore for religious reasons as a Muslim, violated the park’s no-headwear safety policy for that ride.

Her father, Nasir, protested, proposing to cover Noorah’s head with a helmet or a hoodie, but said a manager told him there were no exceptions. They were shown a policy statement, which read, in part, “If fashion, religious expression or your hair style is more important to you than safety, that’s fine. You can do what you want with your life. You just can’t do it at our park.”

California’s civil rights agency may have a different view. The state, which has one of the nation’s strongest laws protecting business customers from discrimination, is being asked to intervene on behalf of Noorah and others barred from Boomers’ go-karts because of their religious attire.

“They made me feel as if they viewed my head scarf as some sort of fashion statement. . . . It wasn’t right, and it wasn’t just,” Noorah, a Sunnyvale middle-school student, said at a news conference in Santa Clara, where Islamic and Sikh organizations announced the filing of discrimination complaints against Boomers and its parent company, Palace Entertainment.


Michele Wischmeyer, Palace Entertainment’s vice president of marketing, said the policy was entirely motivated by safety.

“This is not a matter of race or religion,” she said.

Wischmeyer said she was unaware of any headwear-related accidents at Boomers parks, but there had been some at other amusement parks. Boomers’ policy statement says go-kart riders in other countries have been choked to death when their scarves got tangled in the wheels or engine.

The policy doesn’t discriminate on its face–it prohibits all headwear, including caps, visors and headphones as well as religious coverings. But Hamack said it has a discriminatory impact because Muslims and Sikhs have a religious duty to keep their heads covered, while other patrons can choose to take off their caps or headphones.


The complaints, against Boomers parks in Livermore and Irvine, were filed with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing. If the department investigates and finds discrimination, it can order the company to change its policy and sue if it refuses.

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  • MBlanc46

    They don’t like our rules, they don’t have to live in our country. I sure don’t recall ever having extending invitations to them.

    • APaige

      “Hamack said it has a discriminatory impact because Muslims and Sikhs have a religious duty to keep their heads covered, while other patrons can choose to take off their caps or headphones.” No one has a religious right to ride a go-kart. Can woman even drive go-karts in Islamic countries-are go-karts even allowed?

      • MBlanc46

        I think that they might have go-karts, but they’re donkey-powered.

        • IstvanIN

          They use donkey’s for games, as draft animals and as “dates”. What clever people.

  • They should return to their own religious-sensitive amusement parks and ride the camels to their hearts content.

    • dd121

      They don’t seem sensitive to the idea that they’re in OUR country.

  • CJ Haze

    Make sure you stop the ride at appropriate times, so they can get out and pray while everyone waits.

    Just kidding; f ’em. Wear your hoodie and get decapitated on the log flume.

  • Pro_Whitey

    And the same jerks who wrote the law that might force them to let the headscarf-wearing wench on the go karts will be the same jerks outraged that she’s killed because she was allowed to wear the headscarf. My preferred punishment for these legislative scum is to put their genitals in the sweet spot of one of those pneumatic log splitters. They deserve it.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    Muslims have neither the interest nor the capacity to become American citizens. They just want to continue practicing their barbaric religion and breeding at our expense while enjoying a higher standard of living. A steadily growing population of Muslims is always a bad thing. The larger they get, the more problems they cause.

    • Urbane Neanderthal

      Add cavorting with European women (by force if necessary.)

  • willbest

    Great so every entrant has to pay 50 cents more per visit to cover the insurance premiums so Muslims can feel all privileged.

    • Brian

      I would be okay with allowing the muzzies to wear their god helmets as long as they sign a no-lawsuit waiver. If some of them get beheaded by the rides, oh well…bring on the 72 virgins.

      • No can do exculpatory clauses.

        • Brian

          Doesn’t it depend on the state?

          • willbest

            The level of waiver differs from state to state. typically dependent on how many ski resorts the state has. But then this guy would be required to consent for his underage daughter, and the state has a vested interest in making sure parents don’t take unnecessary risks with their child so they tend to be more strict on waiving liability in that case.

      • RHG

        You can bet if she were allowed to ride these go karts with that headdress on and it got caught in a moving part leading to her head and neck being removed from her shoulders her parents would be suing for that.

    • archer

      You could state that you are offended by the “halal” slaughtering of animals, which you probably would be, I’ve read it’s pretty gruesome.

  • A Freespeechzone

    Muslims are intolerant of anything that doesn’t cater to them or their vile cult…yet, we are forced to accommodate their demands.

    Look at the fact that many colleges have special prayer rooms for muslims…yet, to consider a Christian offering prayer is offensive and shut down…

    WHEN are we going to stop this nonsense and INSIST on mutual respect?

  • MekongDelta69

    “Suuuuure – go RIGHT ahead and wear your head scarf on the ride. However, please be advised that it’s REALLY hard to wear a head scarf – when you have no head

    “In the meantime Mr. Abdo, let me tell you a little story about Jayne Mansfield. Step right over here please, while the daughter your religion forces you to treat like cattle is riding around with her headscarf blowing in the wind.”

    • Katherine McChesney

      If you’re referring to Jayne Mansfield’s death…she was NOT decapitated.

      • Alexandra1973

        She basically had the top of her head torn off, along with her brain. “Avulsion of cranium and brain” according to the autopsy report.

      • MekongDelta69

        You get my point…

        “According to the police report on the accident, “the upper portion of this white female’s head was severed.” Her death certificate notes a ‘crushed skull with avulsion (forcible separation or detachment) of cranium and brain.’ One thinks of a beheading as the neck’s being sliced through, causing the head to be separated from the body, but that is clearly not what happened here. Scalping is perhaps a closer description of Mansfield’s fate, but even that word does not accurately reflect the cranial trauma she suffered, because scalping victims at least retain an intact skull. The Angel of Death did not afford Mansfield this luxury: Her skull was cracked or sliced open, and a sizeable piece of it was carried away.”

    • fuzzypook

      I think you mean Isadora Duncan.

  • dd121

    In 50 years we’ll be asked what Sharia law has to say about this.

  • borogirl54

    I would not be surprised if the scarf of these Muslims got entwined in the tires of the gokart and she was strangled to death, would result in a wrongful death lawsuit from her family. Muslims cannot have their cake and eat it too.

    • So CAL Snowman

      I was thinking the same thing. They want to live a life free from the consequences of their actions. If the company had allowed this little invader to ride the karts and her head scarf got caught in the engine and killed her, the family would have undoubtedly sued and Dateline 20/20 would be running non stop stories on the need to accommodate Muslims in our systematically racist country.

    • Bill E. BOBB

      yes they can, and they will subvert OUR LAWS and use them against us to do it

    • Reverend Bacon

      Muslims can’t have cake period. Something about the pig fat in the shortening.


    Ah yes, diversity in action. Islam is a plague, and the complete opposite of freedom. In my humble opinion, all or at least most religions have a streak of totalitarianism in them. However, Islam’s totalitarian nature is far more dogmatic than any of the others I’ve come across and as far as I’m concerned it has no place in a “Free Society”. ( That is of course, if America can still be considered a Free Society, when your business can be ripped from your hands. For daring to not properly praise the all but worthless black population by asking your girlfriend not to bring black people to your basketball game. )

  • Bill E. BOBB

    yeah, we have to change to accommodate them, not the other way around. next time I go to a amusement park I am wearing the goofy nylon on my head like the hindus or sikhs wear.

  • Lygeia

    Her head scarf could have gotten caught in the spokes of the wheels of the go-cart, wrenching her head and neck, and killing her.

    • Alexandra1973

      Isadora Duncan comes to mind here. She died in a similar manner.

  • smedley

    News bulletin: Muslim girl killed when her headscarf was caught in machinery at local go Kart ride. Angry father promises to sue. “They should have told us the head scarf could have led to her death. They are responsible for killing her.” California civil rights agency promises investigation.

  • humura

    I forgot who, but a famous woman journalist was wearing her scarf while awaiting a subway train in NY in the late 1940s. The train arrived and her scarf got tangled in the moving car somehow and she was strangled.

    • dd121

      Ever hear of Isadora Duncan?

      • MBlanc46

        That was an automobile and in the 1920s if my memory serves. But that’s probably what’s being referenced.

        • IstvanIN

          But go-carts have wheels and assorted other parts that could catch a scarf and strangle the female muslim. Regardless, muslim dad wins because he can sue for discrimination or, if she was killed, wrongful death.

  • ncpride

    I thought she is forbidden to drive anyway. By far the funniest comment on the original article.

  • IstvanIN

    There is a children’s amusement park that I take my grandson to. Most ride have a minimum height of 36 inches. He is on the short side and barely made 3 feet at age 3 1/2. Did I complain that he couldn’t go on all the rides? No, because I value HIM more than some amusement. He shot up over the winter so when the weather gets nice we’ll go back and he can go on more rides. Isn’t that simple?

    I hate diversity.

  • Reverend Bacon

    This is like the ridiculous nanny-state rules that made construction equipment have loud backup “beeps” with one regulation, and mandatory earplugs with another.

    If society didn’t have to worry about people (mostly minorities with no stake in the country, but not entirely) suing for all manner of tortious liability, we’d let people board the go-carts with a cyanide capsule precariously held between their teeth. Let these ghetto-lottery-waiting-to-happen morons put up an escrow of $100,000 for their own hospital bills, and another several thousand for the damage they might cause to the equipment, and let them loose. But I guarantee you they wouldn’t go for it. And if they did, some liberal somewhere would step in and say that they didn’t understand what they were signing.

  • clemensb

    “The policy doesn’t discriminate on its face–it prohibits all headwear, including caps, visors and headphones as well as religious coverings. But Hamack said it has a discriminatory impact because Muslims and Sikhs have a religious duty to keep their heads covered, while other patrons can choose to take off their caps or headphones.”

    Aww…boo hoo. Then don’t follow a stupid religion that doesn’t allow you to take a hat off your fricken crusty scalp.

  • Brian

    “If fashion, religious expression or your hair style is more important
    to you than safety, that’s fine. You can do what you want with your
    life. You just can’t do it at our park.”
    I have a feeling I’d like whoever came up with the phrasing for this.

  • TXCriollo

    So if im told i cannot wear a rangers hat i should be offended because i am a Texan? This is getting old, laws are put in place for safety. If you wanna ride follow the rules, if you’re religious beliefs are more important, then do not ride end of story

  • Chip Carver

    The obvious question is what is this creature doing in the US?

    Then the next question is who is really behind this invader’s lawsuit?

  • A head scarf can become tangled up in moving parts.

    • Vito Powers

      Exactly! It’s like wearing a necktie without a shirt clip in a factory machine shop. This looks like a Rosa Parks stunt to me. These “people” know the rules. They just want to stir up controversy.

    • jj

      Qxactly, there was a recent case in Quebec where a woman’s headscarf got all tangled up in an escalator and strangled her.. but hey, if they want to throw caution to the wind..

  • NoMosqueHere

    You know what else has a discriminatory impact on muslim morons? Common sense and reasonable accommodation with the rules and mores the host country.


    “When you increase the sensitivity, you increase the false alarm rate.” — Old proverb

  • RHG

    I thought we had “separation of church and state” in this country? The muslims and sikhs are now telling us their religious activities overrule everything else. There was some sikh making a stink awhile back because he couldn’t carry some kind of ceremonial knife in court while on jury duty. Why is everyone else expected to abide by certain rules but exceptions to these rules are being carved out for them? That is the real discrimination as far as I am concerned.

  • The Koran does not tell Muslim women and girls to cover their hair and/or faces. It merely admonishes them to dress modestly. Unlike most Muslims, I’ve actually read the Koran.