Playland is a glorious, art deco amusement park built in the 1920's in Rye, New York, about 40 kms from New York City. On a fine, hot, sunny summer day it is pure fun. There's a swimming pool, lots of rides, and the place is fully of giggling children and teens out having a good time. Prices are low, and the place is not pretentious Thus, it was a good choice for the holding of an celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr, a Muslim holiday capping off the Ramadam fast. Unfortunately, things went badly wrong. One wonders if the same thing would happen with a synagogue youth group celebration. I have excerpted two articles, links within headlines. 15 arrested in Playland melee over head scarves (link) RYE, N.Y. A melee broke out Tuesday afternoon at Playland Amusement Park when Muslim visitors became angry that the park was enforcing its rules on headgear by prohibiting the women from wearing their traditional head coverings on some rides. ****************** Parks officials "painstakingly" told the organizer about the headgear ban, said Tartaglia. But he said that the rules might not have been communicated by the organizer to some attendees. Three accidents on Playland rides that killed two children and a park worker between 2004 and 2007 were unrelated to clothing the victims were wearing. But the headgear ban was among safety rules that went into effect after those deaths. "It's a safety issue on rides. If it's a scarf, you could choke," Tartaglia said. ********************** Her father and 14 other people were arrested after word of her protest spread to others in the crowd and tempers flared, she said. Some were yelling and cursing at each other, after an internal dispute arose over whether the women should just take their scarves off to go on the rides. (See related story for more details.) ===================================== Update: Photographer on Playland melee: Authorities right to step in (link) RYE When Tara Abadir saw groups of Muslim men and women pushing and shoving each other at Rye Playland, she grabbed her sister's camera and started taking photos. "They were fighting with each other, screaming at each other," she said. "It kept going." *************** People were just grabbing each other and fighting I saw a man hit a woman on her back," she said, "It was clear if authorities didn't step in, someone would have been seriously hurt." When police tried to break up the melee, Abadir said, "there was resistance." She recalled seeing a Muslim woman was pleading with an officer to let go of her friend. "She was saying, 'Please, please sir. She's a lady. You can't touch her.' And (the officer) said 'I don't care who she is. You can't hit people. That's not how it works.'" Things ended with a craven surrender to the implicit threat of violence by people who reject the need to comply with lawful authority in a democracy. These are the most recent legal developments (link, excerpts below): RYE Dalia Nazzal is glad that a dark chapter of her life is finally over. Almost five months after a full-blown melee at Playland Amusement Park, the Spring Valley resident, an 18-year-old freshman at City College in Manhattan, accepted an offer from the government that will wipe out a disorderly-conduct charge lodged against her. She and her mother, Noor Jaber, were two of 14 Muslim-Americans who accepted adjournments in contemplation of dismissal in Rye City Court on Tuesday. The settlement allows them to maintain their innocence and have the charges against them dismissed if theyre not arrested again before March 20. The 15th defendant in the case was home sick in Brooklyn but is expected to get the same deal, said their lawyer, Lamis Deek. ***************** Its a good offer, said Deek, who specializes in civil rights cases and injustices against Muslims. She said the defendants plan to file federal civil rights lawsuits against the county as their next step. Deek said most adjournments in contemplation of dismissal have a six-month window where the defendant has to stay out of trouble, so the fact that her clients got just two months speaks volumes about their innocence. Deek also thanked the assistant district attorney assigned to Rye, Valerie Livingston. I have no particular reason for these youngsters to wind up with a criminal record, or go to jail. I have two serious problems with the above result: That the "re-arrest" interval is two months, not the normal six months; and That they are free to file an action against the County. I suspect that the defense counsel are nervous that their clients will re-offend, so sought a short period. Further, as a County taxpayer, I am appalled that the County could be sued. There is no question that the wearers of head scarfs knew or should have known that they were forbidden. The signage is clear, and the common sense need for the regulation is obvious. The parties paying for this nonsense are people like myself, who pay taxes and obey the law. I suspect that the very short two-month window, and the ability to sue, are a cave-in to fears of violence.