Hijab-wearing woman fosters understanding after being turned away from roller rink

A young woman on the South Shore is building cultural bridges after she was turned away from an indoor rollerskate park in Brossard for wearing a hijab.

Hoda Mady, who was at the Paladium Sunday to celebrate a friend’s birthday, said she was told her headscarf was a safety hazard, something she found galling since she has been skating at the Paladium before while wearing her hijab.

The 19-year-old Dawson College student was confronted at the rink by someone who her friends recognized as a regular at the Paladium.

“A man approached me and my friend and pointed at my head covering, my hijab, which I wear for religious reasons being a Muslim woman, and he told me I had to take it off,” she explained.
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19-year-old Hoda Mady was turned away from a roller rink because of her hijab

This man, a regular customer of the Paladium, told Mady she was not allowed to wear anything on her head because it was a risk to other skaters.

"I just thought, maybe he's uneducated on the matter. Maybe he just thinks it's a hat, because I do wear it [in] a different style than the traditional. So I explained to him I am a Muslim woman and I'm wearing it for my religion," said Mady.

The man said there were no exceptions, and sought the confirmation of staff at the roller rink.

"He talked to the man behind the desk, trying to get a confirmation from him, and the guy did confirm, he said yeah, you know, that's our policy, nothing on your head in case it falls off," said Mady.

Mady then spoke to a manager who said the man was correct, that was the rink's policy.

“She just went on defending him saying he didn't mean anything by it, he wasn't trying to be rude he was just trying to follow the strict policy,” Mady said the manager relayed to her.

Mady could also see the policy was not enforced.

"I actually looked at the people who were roller-blading and I saw a man with a bandana on his head, so I asked 'why is that guy allowed to skate with a bandanna but you seem to have a problem with me?' And they said 'well he probably has cancer, so it's different,'" said Mady.

Mady said the confrontation made her very upset, and she and her friends left the roller rink after getting a refund for their tickets and rental equipment.

“I got upset and I did cry about it and my friends were shocked,” she said.

However on Monday, a manager at the Paladium told CTV that there was no reason for Mady to be refused from the rink and that business has no policy against women rollerblading in hijabs.

“There’s only a policy with wearing hats,” said manager Nicole Sicard.

Mady also said that in eight years, she has never had her hijab fall off during any sort of physical activity.

"I go skiing, I go skating, I go tobogganning, I play sports," she said.

When Mady called the Paladium Monday, the manager apologized for the behaviour of the customer and her employee.

“Some education is in order,” said Sicard.

Mady is satisfied with the outcome.

“I just want to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else,” she said.

Mady said she now feels welcome and plans to celebrate with some rollerblading at the Paladium next weekend.


Source: CTVNews

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