Two Sikh and Muslim groups have filed complaints alleging religious discrimination against a California amusement park after a couple of families wearing religious headgear were denied access to riding go-karts due to “safety concerns”. The complaints were filed Tuesday with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) against Boomers!, which is owned by Newport Beach-based Palace Entertainment, according to CBS Local. Nasir Abdo of Sunnyvale filed a complaint on behalf of his daughter, Noorah Abdo, alleging that she was not allowed to ride on the go-kart at Boomers last Aug 8. Members of a Sikh family from Alameda alleged that less than two weeks earlier, on July 28, they were discriminated against when the park would not let them ride go-karts wearing their traditional Sikh turbans, according to Patch.com.
Officials of United Sikhs and California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) say one alleged incident in March 2013 involved two women who went to the Boomers in Irvine with their four daughters and two sons. “The children waited a half-hour in line, but when they got up to the front the attendant told them they were not allowed to ride on the go-cart with a scarf around the neck,” CAIR-Los Angeles’s civil rights coordinator, Sammar Miqbel, was quoted as saying. The headgear ban was implemented after riders at other parks around the country, which were not owned by Palace, were injured when headscarves, hats or other loose clothing were caught in equipment, Palace Entertainment spokesperson Michele Wischmeyer said. “Safety is our number one priority and this is a matter of safety, not racial or religious discrimination,” she was quoted as saying. The company’s headgear ban includes baseball hats, visors, cowboy hats, ties, scarves, loose clothing and necklaces.