News

Families say they were denied go-kart rides at Boomers because of faiths

Livermore amusement center claims safety was the issue

A Sikh family from Alameda and a Muslim family from Sunnyvale alleged Tuesday that they were barred from riding go-karts at a Livermore amusement park last summer because of their religious head attire.

The Muslim family filed a discrimination complaint Tuesday with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Sikh family said it plans to file a complaint with the state agency later this week.

Zahra Billoo, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which hosted a news conference on the allegations at its office in Santa Clara Tuesday, said the complaints are the first steps toward possible lawsuits against the Boomers amusement park in Livermore, where both incidents allegedly occurred.

Samar Migbel, a civil rights coordinator for CAIR, said the families were permitted entry to the amusement park but then denied access to go-kart riders after employees cited what he described as "unfounded safety concerns."

Migbel said Boomers, which is owned by Newport Beach-based Palace Entertainment, has maintained that it cannot accommodate anyone wearing a religious head covering on its rides. Migbel said the amusement park has been unable to offer any substantive proof of the safety concerns it cites as justification of what he alleged was discriminatory treatment.

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Migbel said in a statement, "While safety is our priority, we ask Boomers to approach the concern over religious headgear as any other safety concern and explore alternative accommodation solutions that will allow everyone safe access to their rides."

He said, "There are larger amusement parks with far more intense rides than Boomers and they have managed to accommodate individuals wearing religious headgear, so we ask that Boomers follow in their footsteps."

Nasir Abdo of Sunnyvale filed a complaint on behalf of his daughter, Noorah Abdo, alleging that she wasn't 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 wouldn't let them ride go-karts wearing their traditional Sikh turbans.

Michele Wischmeyer, a spokeswoman for Palace Entertainment, the company that owns Boomers, said the headgear ban was implemented after riders at other parks around the country, which aren't owned by Palace, were injured when headscarves, hats or other loose clothing were caught in equipment.

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Wischmeyer said, "Safety is our number one priority and this is a matter of safety, not racial or religious discrimination."

She said the company's headgear ban includes baseball hats, visors, cowboy hats, ties, scarves, loose clothing and necklaces.

"It's a very broad policy," Wischmeyer said.

— Bay City News Service

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Families say they were denied go-kart rides at Boomers because of faiths

Livermore amusement center claims safety was the issue

Uploaded: Thu, May 1, 2014, 7:01 am
Updated: Fri, May 2, 2014, 6:47 am

A Sikh family from Alameda and a Muslim family from Sunnyvale alleged Tuesday that they were barred from riding go-karts at a Livermore amusement park last summer because of their religious head attire.

The Muslim family filed a discrimination complaint Tuesday with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing and the Sikh family said it plans to file a complaint with the state agency later this week.

Zahra Billoo, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which hosted a news conference on the allegations at its office in Santa Clara Tuesday, said the complaints are the first steps toward possible lawsuits against the Boomers amusement park in Livermore, where both incidents allegedly occurred.

Samar Migbel, a civil rights coordinator for CAIR, said the families were permitted entry to the amusement park but then denied access to go-kart riders after employees cited what he described as "unfounded safety concerns."

Migbel said Boomers, which is owned by Newport Beach-based Palace Entertainment, has maintained that it cannot accommodate anyone wearing a religious head covering on its rides. Migbel said the amusement park has been unable to offer any substantive proof of the safety concerns it cites as justification of what he alleged was discriminatory treatment.

Migbel said in a statement, "While safety is our priority, we ask Boomers to approach the concern over religious headgear as any other safety concern and explore alternative accommodation solutions that will allow everyone safe access to their rides."

He said, "There are larger amusement parks with far more intense rides than Boomers and they have managed to accommodate individuals wearing religious headgear, so we ask that Boomers follow in their footsteps."

Nasir Abdo of Sunnyvale filed a complaint on behalf of his daughter, Noorah Abdo, alleging that she wasn't 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 wouldn't let them ride go-karts wearing their traditional Sikh turbans.

Michele Wischmeyer, a spokeswoman for Palace Entertainment, the company that owns Boomers, said the headgear ban was implemented after riders at other parks around the country, which aren't owned by Palace, were injured when headscarves, hats or other loose clothing were caught in equipment.

Wischmeyer said, "Safety is our number one priority and this is a matter of safety, not racial or religious discrimination."

She said the company's headgear ban includes baseball hats, visors, cowboy hats, ties, scarves, loose clothing and necklaces.

"It's a very broad policy," Wischmeyer said.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Sue
Valley Trails
on May 1, 2014 at 9:43 am
Sue, Valley Trails
on May 1, 2014 at 9:43 am
Like this comment

Get a grip! It was for your safety, didn't have anything to do with your faith OR Religion!


Right
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Right, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm
Like this comment

Agreed, Sue. These people would be the first ones to line up their high prices attorneys to sue if one of them were injured due to their stubborn neglect and inability to adhere to a businesses safety policies.
They did accomplish what they set out to do: stir up further race based anxiety, discrediting a local business and gather attention to themselves. Poor insecure little people.


kbenson
Bordeaux Estates
on May 1, 2014 at 1:52 pm
kbenson, Bordeaux Estates
on May 1, 2014 at 1:52 pm
Like this comment

I went to Boomers last month. Stood in a line for go karts. Signs clearly states no headgear allowed. applies to EVERYONE


Cholo
Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 2:22 pm
Like this comment

hmmmmmmmm...I believe that they were discriminated against.

I've seen folks wearing bobbi pins in their hair and baseball caps and colorful bandanas on their head. Some folks wear hair clips that could fly off and take out an innocent persons eye(s).
(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)
I think that lots of folks behave inappropriately in public and could at times possibly harm somebody...has anybody ever seen anybody texting or using a phone to photograph their bunch of fun on a ride? hmmmmmmmmm...


Cholo
Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm
Like this comment

I also suspect that there are scads of Plutonians on carnival rides that don't appear clean or tidy and their ugly hairs are flying in the wind even at an ice-cream parlor and who knows how much dandruff and other weird stuff is falling on the ice cream that others purchase?

if i haven't seen it all...duh


Here we go: More Klan-like hate
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm
Here we go: More Klan-like hate, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 3:07 pm
Like this comment

A Sikh head wrap is not "head gear." It is predictable enough to see our local racists immediately using the complaining family as a target for their hatred.


Damon
Foothill Knolls
on May 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm
Damon, Foothill Knolls
on May 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm
Like this comment

I hate to see politics injected into something that should be a cut-and-dried issue of whether such a head wrap is a safety issue or not. Aren't there some widespread amusement park standards concerning this? Disneyland has a sort of "Autotopia" go-kart. Do they allow head wraps on that ride or their other rides. What about the roller coaster and other rides at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk?


Mike
Highland Oaks
on May 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm
Mike, Highland Oaks
on May 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm
Like this comment

It seems to me that in this day and age such rules would be set by the authorities rather than by the individual businesses.

Isadora Duncan


Cholo
Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 4:47 pm
Like this comment

The law is on the side of the Sikhs: Web Link


Lim
Mariposa Ranch
on May 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm
Lim , Mariposa Ranch
on May 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm
Like this comment

Yeah, just what we need. More government involvement.

I agree with "right" that they are further alienating themselves and only spreading much of the negativity most Americans feel about Muslims.

I went to a large grocery store in Hayward a few months ago and there were two presumably women covered from head to toe with only a small hole in the material for their eyes so they could see. I'm not going up lie, I felt unsafe because had there been a crime committed, no one would have been able to describe them. I understand religious freedom, but if they come to this country they are doing themselves a huge disservice in situations like this where I had to wonder if they were armed robbers.

If they want an amusement park that caters to them, they can build it themselves. No ones safety should be put at risk over head gear that could easily come off during go cart rides


Here We Go: More Klan-style Hate
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm
Here We Go: More Klan-style Hate, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 5:33 pm
Like this comment

(Post deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Cholo
Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Cholo, Livermore
on May 1, 2014 at 5:45 pm
Like this comment

Muslims and Sikhs differ: Web Link

Hope some of you will educate yourselves.

ready...set...go!


Here We Go: More Klan-style Hate
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Here We Go: More Klan-style Hate, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm
Like this comment

Thanks for correcting Lim the racist, Cholo. Do you think he gives a hoot whether they are Muslim or Sikh? They don't look like him, and that's all he needs as an excuse to hate and fear.


Right
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm
Right, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 8:51 pm
Like this comment

(Comment partially removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)Either follow the rules or find somewhere else to go.


Here We Go: More Klan-style Hate
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm
Here We Go: More Klan-style Hate, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm
Like this comment

(Post deemed inappropriate by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff)


Pro-Law
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2014 at 7:51 am
Pro-Law, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2014 at 7:51 am
Like this comment

We all know that if their head garb got caught on something during the ride they were injured or worse there would be a lawsuit for that too. Sounds like the company is damned if they do and damned if they don't.


Cholo
Livermore
on May 2, 2014 at 7:52 am
Cholo, Livermore
on May 2, 2014 at 7:52 am
Like this comment

Children will eventually change the every changing world:

Web Link


Cholo
Livermore
on May 2, 2014 at 7:53 am
Cholo, Livermore
on May 2, 2014 at 7:53 am
Like this comment

Correction: ...ever changing world! HOORAY YOUNG FOLKS! VIVA!


Map
Del Prado
on May 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm
Map, Del Prado
on May 3, 2014 at 9:53 pm
Like this comment

Give it a rest cholo, stick to the facts, it's their business, it's their rules for safety for everyone involved, no discrimination intended, way too many lawyers just chomping at the bit to sue somebody!! Try crying discrimination in most foreign countries and see how far that gets you!!! A moment of silence for the business owner they are the victims here--- read the signs--" NO HEADGEAR". If they win this one I'm starting my own religion, we will be the ones wearing top hats on all the rides, we are going to make a fortune!!


Cholo
Livermore
on May 4, 2014 at 9:25 am
Cholo, Livermore
on May 4, 2014 at 9:25 am
Like this comment

We live a country in which all citizens are expected to obey the law. That means you and everybody else.

Live and let live...the young folks will someday save the day!


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