Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Muslim Woman Complains About Gym

The Detroit News reported today about a Muslim woman who complained after her prayers were interrupted at the gym.

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."

Let me ask a very simple question: What was she doing praying at a gym?

A gym is where you go to exercise and sweat and shower, and then you go home. Prayer doesn't fit in at a gym. Prayer is what you do at home.

I understand that Muslims have specific times of the day for prayer. But they know what those times are before they go somewhere. Why can't she go to the gym before prayer. Or wait to go to the gym until after prayer? It's not like the prayer time came upon her like some emergency.

Imad Hamad, regional director of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which lodged a formal complaint with Fitness USA on behalf of Sultan, said 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.

"They (Muslims) are resenting that they are to be suppressed from expressing themselves freely, like others," Hamad said.

"It's OK for a Christian fellow or a Jewish fellow to pray, and it would be regarded highly and respected. When it comes to a person of Muslim faith, especially if a woman is wearing the head cover or a man with a typical clergy outfit, yeah, it is becoming like something that is offensive to people and making them nervous."

Nobody's trying to stop Muslims from expressing themselves. And for a Christian fellow or a Jewish fellow to start praying in a gym, that would not be "regarded highly and respected." That would be looked upon like they'd lost their senses--at least the sense of propriety.

I'm not quite sure which ethnic or cultural group is currently the High Achievement prize-winner in the Professionally Offended Category, but Muslims like Ms. Sultan and the Flying Imams are starting to give them a run for their money.


Jacob said...

Agreed. Get a new civil rights cause, lady.

SkyePuppy said...


Whoa! I thought you'd tell me how much I hate Muslims! I'm pleasantly surprised we agree on this one.

Malott said...

They're just "pushing the envelope," and the rest of us would be wise to push back.

This daily drama from the humorless and oppressed is getting old. But as long as the press, lawyers, and judges are willing to play along...

Anonymous said...

Well said! I, as a muslim, completely agree with your article. Explicit prayer should be done either at the mosque, home, or dedicated prayer place, and not where-ever you feel like it.

Some people simply lack common-sense -- something that is just not taught these days. These actions only embarass most other muslims.

SkyePuppy said...


Thank you for your comment. CAIR and other groups of their ilk are so vocal about the smallest "offenses," that I start to wonder where the normal people who are Muslim have disappeared to. Now I see they're reading blogs. ;o)

As for common sense, that's lacking across all religious and ethnic lines. Nobody has a monopoly on senselessness.

You're welcome back anytime--even if you disagree with me.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Some people simply lack common-sense -- something that is just not taught these days. These actions only embarass most other muslims.

I'm glad to hear that.

All these incidents of "intolerance" and "discrimination" we are hearing about...has it always been a problem? Are Muslims feeling emboldened to "push the envelope", being provocative, just to see if they get a rise or reaction out of anyone in this post-9/11 world? Or have they always done such things as "having a call to prayer in a health club"?

Under other circumstances, I could be accomodating and respect the practice. But why shouldn't it be the other way around? Why shouldn't the woman respect the fact that a gym is an inappropriate place to hold prayer?

Like you said, anon: it's common sense.

jihadi tracker said...

Jacob, why are you in agreement here at Skye Puppy's place and you couldn't understand what the problem was over at Malott's?

Could it be "Skye" Puppy love?