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Gym and a Prayer

By ATWadmin On December 7th, 2006

DEARBORN – Fitness USA, a gym chain, is investigating an alleged civil rights violation involving a local Muslim woman who says her afternoon prayer was interrupted by a fellow patron, and that her complaint to management about the situation was rejected.

“The manager told me, ‘You have to respect her (the patron), but she does not have to respect your God,’ ” said Wardeh Sultan of Dearborn. “I’ve had my membership for seven or eight years, and I’ve never had a problem with praying there. “I told that manager, ‘I can’t believe you said that’ ” Sultan said. “Honestly, I feel humiliated and I feel ashamed, right now, to go back to Fitness USA.”

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, have lodged a formal complaint with Fitness USA on behalf of Sultan, saying the recent spate of conflicts results from a growing intolerance of Islam and a growing restiveness among Muslims that their rights to speak freely and worship are increasingly at risk.

So how DO you balance all these rights, including religious ones? Isnt this all a bit overblown? Cant the dispute be settled like adults? After all if the accusations are true then why did the gym change its dress code to accommodate muslims? The woman who interrupted her has as much right to speak as (presumably) as she has to pray?

Im also pretty certain (though Ill check at lunchtime) that muslims have a sort of ‘round up prayer’ if you will- that allows them to make up for prayers when they find themselves unable to conduct them normally. If that is the case is it fair to insist on praying in such an inconvenient location?! Or is that exhibiting a level of intolerance she accuses evryone else of?

The whole rights issue is a mess. I would suggest a gym might not be a suitable place for prayer. With the AAAD now involved, does this smack of grandstanding to you?

13 Responses to “Gym and a Prayer”

  1. Isn’t it lovely to see two cultures coming together, the perennial indignation of islam with the frivolous litigiousness of the USA.

  2. If I decided to say a decade of the rosary at the gym and someone who had an anti-Catholic viewpoint made a few comments in my direction I don’t think I’d have cause for complaint.

    If they did it while I was praying in a Church I think I would.

    If Muslims have to pray at a particular time then I’m sure most of us would not object. But most of us don’t object to cartoons either and when your faith is seen as political then public displays are likely to attract public comment.

  3. when your faith is seen as political then public displays are likely to attract public comment.

    Excellent point Henry

  4. Someone tell that dumbell to schedule her prayers for an appropriate time.

  5. lol. yep.

  6. Me, me, me! I am Muslim! You WILL cotow to my demands! I demand you do not insult my god! And you will do as I say when I say it!

  7. Well you heard it straight from the donkeys arse their folks.

  8. An excellent case for ALL religious ‘inter-actions’ to be kept within the boundaries of homes and churches / chapels / mosques / synagogues etc.

  9. She doesn’t actually state how her praying was disrupted. If she simply means that someone came in and she tried to tell them not to interupt her then she is in the wrong. She doesn’t own the gym or any room in it. If someone verbally abused her purely because of what they saw her doing then she has a case on grounds of simple common civility.

  10. Go shopping at Braehead Glasgow and pay a visit to the toilets. You will find the entrance blocked with folk (Muslims) waiting to use the prayer room set up for them. There is one in the ladies.The room is the one usually set up for the cleaners just inside the main doors.
    I had to complain as I found it hard to enter and exit the toilet.

    No wonder people find it hard to get along.

  11. I’m surprised they didn’t complain about the prayer room being situated right next to the toilets.

  12. Next to the toilets: maybe because they have to be clean before they can pray..

    OK so seriously whats the deal here – & im still trying to find that thing about the round up prayer they can do fwiw

  13. Alison the deal is that we’re supposed to respect seemingly sensible people conversing with their imaginary friends in public.
    Fair enough if they want to do it at home or in the mosque, but must we humour them at the gym or (bizarrely) in the public toilet?