Thursday, September 01, 2011

Eid Al-Fitr - Day of Fun and Fitnah: Muslim Day at Playland, Part 1

On the day of the Eid Al-Fitr, I decided to go to Playland. I had turned down an invitation from a good friend of mine who was having a picnic at Bear Mountain. My decision to go to Playland was because I felt that my children would have more fun there.

Once I reached the town of Rye, I started to see police cars zooming past me in the direction of Playland. My wife and I joked that the Muslims must be having a fight or something at the amusement park. However, as I had gotten closer to the park, I started to see more cars heading in the direction of Playland. 

Once I drove up towards the entrence of Playland there were several police cars blocking off the entrence. At this time it was about 2:30 PM. I decided to park my car on the other side of the park in the beach/boardwalk section. From there I walked towards the amusement park. I had seen some policemen but  just walked behind them. They did not stop me or anything, so I continued with my family towards the main entrence area. On my way towards the entrence I ask one young Muslim brother what happened. He told me the the Yemenis were having a brawl with the police. Once I went up to the ticket area I saw a few police around and a lot of Muslims in the entrence area. At this time I was trying to see where I would get the cheaper tickets - the main ticket area or from the MAS people. I found out where the MAS tent was and saw the one in charge heading towards a long line of Muslims. I quickly found out that this line was for refunds. 

During this time I found out from my wife that Playland does not allow sisters with hijab on some of the rides. She knew this since she had been there before with another sister. Anyways, I decided to go to the main ticket area and purchase the tickets from them since I did not want to waste any time waiting for the brother. I also did not have any cash on me. So, this is what was going on up to this point. 

Once inside, I brought my family to the Kiddyland section and decided to get some drinks and a carriage for my daughter from the car. I walked back and saw the police presence increasing at the main entrence area where I was just walking around. On my way back from the car I saw dozens of police now parked along the strip toward the main circle area. I tried to enter the main gate which I had just entered a few minute ago. However, some Mamaroneck cops told me that I could not go in. I asked if I could speak to his supervisor and he refused. By the way, another Mamaroneck cop was holding his baton. He was not necessarily directing it toward me; however, I was a bit disturbed by his whole demeanor. Why was it that because of some fight there were police present from the Westchester County, Rye, Harrison, and Mammaroneck Police Departments. It seemed as if all of the police departments from all of the local Westchester towns were out in force at Playland - talk about overkill. However, I know how the police role in Westchester, so it was not a complete suprise. I think the police were trying to "show their force and strength." I am quite familiar with their mentality since I have grown up and participated in gangs while growing up. Police have the same mentality. The county cop had problems, so they called their boys from some of the other sets to come and help out. The funny part was that whatever occurred at Playland had already been dissolved and over and done with since at least the time that I has arrived. (TO BE CONTINUED)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Chaos, Police Brutality, and Mayhem at Rye Playland

What I thought was going to be a fun-filled day at Playland today turned out to be something other than that. I will be posting something tomorrow, inshAllah, about my personal experience. I will be discussing the excessive Westchester-style police presence that occurred there after the brawl on the day of Eid. For now, I will raise the following questions: Why did the participating MAS (al-Ikhwan al-Muslimoon) masjids not inform their congregations that Playland has policies in place that essentially ban all type of "headgear" (which includes hijabs)?; Why did the park rangers (Westchester County Police Department) overeact to a situation and start beating people?; Why were scores of police blocking the entrence to Playland for about two to three hours? Did the park officials even know that the hijab is not an item that can be removed freely in public? Why does the media keep referring the the hijab as "traditional headgear?"
                                           Cops in riot gear at Rye-Playland

Read more tomorrow as I share the experience of my one hour detainment for taking pictures of the masses of police. Please feel free the try and answer some of the questions I have already raised.

Khalil Al-Puerto Rikani
Yonkers, New York

Friday, June 17, 2011

Abu Khaliyl Intensive Hadith Class
Nashville, Tennessee
July 8-10, 2011

Obama in Puerto Rico

The Brian Lehrer Show
Why Obama Is Visiting Puerto Rico
An Interview with Angelo Falcón
By Stephen Reader
WNYC-FM (June 13, 2011)

To listen to the Angelo Falcón interview, click here

Florida is more in play for Democrats than ever before, and this trip is a way to appeal to folks in places like Florida because there's been a lot of growth in the Puerto Rican population there.

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at WNYC's It's A Free Country blog, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on the Brian Lehrer Show, Angelo Falcon, President and founder of the National Institute for Latino Policy, discussed the significance of President Obama's visit to Puerto Rico and the way changes in Latino demographics will impact the 2012 election.

What Puerto Rico means to Florida

Angelo Falcon noted that it seems like a strange visit for the president to make. Puerto Ricans can vote in presidential primaries, but not in the general election-so why is Obama making a fundraising excursion there, especially when Puerto Rico's governor is more a Tea Party favorite who's been slashing budgets?

The answer lies in ballooning Puerto Rican populations stateside, Falcon said.

Florida is traditionally known as a Republican stronghold. Now there are so many Puerto Ricans in the state, more than 700,000, that it's kind of changed the calculus down there politically. It's more in play for Democrats than ever before, and this trip is a way to appeal to folks in places like Florida because there's been a lot of growth in the Puerto Rican population there.

Pennsylvania is another swing state with a large Puerto Rican population. At this stage in the campaign, there's plenty of value in a visit that looks good to Latino voters.

'He's walking into a lot of issues'

Most Americans have little knowledge of Puerto Rico's problems, much less the complex workings of the Puerto Rican government. Falcon cited the issue of statehood and a pronounced, protracted economic slump that's worse than most on the mainland. How Obama addresses these concerns could have a surprisingly large impact on his reelection effort, said Falcon.

The official unemployment rate is about 16 or 17 percent. It's a major economic crisis, and a White House task force is meeting in Puerto Rico the day after the president leaves to talk about economic issues having to do with Puerto Rico. The president is going to be talking about federal stimulus money that went to Puerto Rico to highlight difference it made.

He's walking into a lot of issues which will resonate with how his presidential campaign develops. People don't vote for President in Puerto Rico, but they do raise money and they send a sizable delegation to theDemocratic convention.