Western Brooklyn

Muslim Couple Sues After Getting Booted From Luna Park

Photo via Luna Park NYC via Flickr
Photo via Luna Park NYC via Flickr

A Bensonhurst couple is suing Coney Island’s Luna Park saying its employees failed to accommodate a religious request and then assailed them with racial slurs before booting them from the park.

According to the lawsuit, Asmaa Abdalla and husband Ibrahim Hamed — who are Muslim — say they were enjoying a fun day in Coney Island on July 30, 2014, when they tried to board the Lazy River and Abdalla requested that she not be seated next to an adult man due to her religious beliefs, reports DNAinfo.

Amusement operators denied her request, allegedly telling the couple they could “get off if they didn’t like it,” according to the lawsuit filed last week in Brooklyn Supreme Court.

Abdalla decided to stay on the boat, because other passengers had already begun to board, but after the ride, she complained to a supervisor, who offered the pair a free ride in their own boat.

Then things took an ugly turn, reports DNAinfo:

But the racist rants started when the couple finished their second go-round on the “Wild River” and separated to go on different Luna Park rides, the lawsuit says.

When Abdalla again requested not to sit next to an adult male at another ride, the operator refused and wouldn’t let her get on.

“At this point, park employees, including the ride attendant from ‘Wild River,’ became hostile, surrounded Asmaa Abdalla and began yelling racial slurs at her, including calling her a ‘terrorist b—-,'” the lawsuit says.

Hamed saw what was happening and came to Abdalla’s aid, leading her away from the crowd, but park workers followed them and told them to leave the park, according to the lawsuit. When the couple initially refused, one ride operator assaulted Hamed and tried to yank his park bracelet off his wrist, the suit alleges.

When the pair then tried to leave the park, the employee struck Hamed in the face “causing severe physical injury,” according to the suit.

An amusement park spokesperson denied the allegations. “We have a company-wide commitment to accommodate guests of all religious beliefs,” Luna Park’s Angie Morris told the outlet.

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  1. I don’t understand… if she had a problem with other men sitting next to her, why didn’t her husband sit next to her? This makes no sense… these rides can get extremely busy and those rides are loud and hectic… I can see if you are handicapped that you would get accommodations, but a whole “I’m a married woman and can’t have a male sitting next to me” when you have a husband that can sit with you? This is just an excuse to get money… what a sue happy country…

  2. The couple did not have much of a lawsuit, before the park employees turned this incident into what essentially is tantamount to a hate crime. If the couple has witnesses proving that the employees verbally and physically assaulted them, the employees then should be charged with a hate crime. As for the request, it was certainly outlandish, as she should have known that she may have to sit next to a man on the ride. Moreover, she should have also known that her request was an unreasonable one. However, customers may often ask for outlandish things, at which time they can be asked to leave the establishment. In this case, the couple did not seem to be acting aggressively toward the staff and did not verbally or physically assault them. Therefore, the staff was wrong for escalating the incident and it may have in fact been criminal.

  3. Their story sounds far fetched. Do they have any witnesses. And why is she going around the park without a make escort? Her religion requires her to have one. Her husband should be seated next to her, so there should have been no problem. Unless of course, they intentionally split up and tried to cause trouble. Send her back to her country and tell them she went out without an escort.

  4. First off, muslim women aren’t required to have a male escort. Religion aside I have plenty of Christian friends, my sister included who would and have refused to sit next to strange men because they didn’t feel comfortable. There is something known as personal space especially when coming in contact with the opposite sex. It appears that the very people who are born into a country that prides itself on guaranteeing people’s freedom, are the very ones who are the first to try to deny people those very rights…Hypocrisy at it’s most extreme.

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