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Headwear Ban At Livermore Amusement Park Draws Religious Outrage

LIVERMORE (KPIX 5) - A Bay Area family claims a local amusement park red-flagged them the minute they headed for the go-kart track because of the way they were dressed.

The Abdo family said a fun day of riding go-karts at Boomers in Livermore became a showdown between safety and religious freedom when their 13-year-old daughter was banned from riding because of her hijab, or head scarf.

"I have to wear it all the time, except at home," said Noorah Abdo.

To explain the ban, the manager handed them a copy of a sternly-worded policy, which said no Hijabs, turbans, yarmulkes, hats, caps or head wraps of any kind because they can get tangled and cause severe head or neck injuries and even death.

"If fashion, religious expression or hair style is more important to you than safety, that's fine, you can do what you want with your life. You just can't do it at or our park," read the letter.

On July 28th, three Sikh boys and an adult trying to ride the go-karts claim an employees said "that thing on your heads is not allowed."

"I think they're taking the easy way out and said you can't put anything on your head. Simple as that," said Noorah's father Nasir.

United Sikhs, an international advocacy group, has started an online petition to try and change the policy. The organization said they have video of last month's confrontation, and their legal team has contacted the company.

"I think they should think of a better alternative so people who wear hijabs or other head coverings for religious purposes have another alternative so they can ride on the go-karts," said Noorah Abdo.

KPIX 5 tried calling Boomer's parent company - Palace Parks, based in Southern California - but did not get a call back.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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