Two Muslim women were ordered to stop praying in a Dublin city park, by a park employee who claimed they may injure their backs and sue the council.
The Irish Examiner reports that the women’s prayer session was interrupted when a driver of a security van drove up and shouted that there was “no praying in the park” in Griffith Park, Drumcondra on Saturday August 10th.
The worker involved has admitted telling them to stop praying but denied the reason given and was suspended pending further investigation, Breaking News.ie reports.
The women picked a quiet spot in the park for one of their five daily calls to prayer and had barely begun praying when they heard a honking horn. An employee in a Manguard Plus van, who provide an out of hours service for Dublin City Council in the park, stopped his van before allegedly shouting at the women that no praying was allowed.
One of the women, Sajida, who moved to Ireland from Britain 17–years ago, said they had “never experienced anything like it before.”
The park employee informed the women they needed a permit to pray.
“I asked him where did it say that, to show me the policy,” said Sajida. “He then said we could break our backs when we stood up and sue Dublin City Council. I told him five million people gather to pray in Mecca and we never heard of people breaking their backs.”
Manguard Plus told the newspaper that the ladies were asked to move as a gardener wanted to cut the grass.
A spokesperson said the women were “asked politely to move,” that Manguard was “not there to enforce any religious rules,” and that their employees “didn’t get into confrontation.”
The women said they intend to seek legal advice.