herald

Friday 18 August 2017

Prayer row in park 'left us sad and hurt'

A MUSLIM woman who was told to stop praying in a Dublin park wants the security firm involved to give a donation to children's charities in Egypt and Syria

The woman, named Sajida, told the Herald last night she fears that other Muslims in Dublin have suffered similar "hurtful abuse".

It was revealed yesterday that a security worker has been suspended after he told the woman and her friend to end their prayers "in case they break their backs".

The man confronted the two women in Griffith Park in Drumcondra last Saturday week and told them they needed a permit to pray.

Speaking to the Herald from her Dublin home last night, mother-of-three Sajida said she was still "deeply hurt" by the incident.

"We were praying peacefully. We were not chanting or causing any disturbance to the public. Then he honked his horn and told us that we needed a permit to pray.

"He told us to stop. I felt harassed and intimidated," Sajida said.

Anger

The employee works for security firm Manguard Plus, which has a contract with Dublin City Council to provide a warden service at the park.

Company boss Bill Brown told the Herald last night that he "completely understands" the women's anger.

He added that Manguard Plus "sincerely regrets" its employee's "absurd actions".

Sajida has requested that her full name not be published due to fears that going public would spark a negative reaction for her family.

Her children are all Irish, speak the Irish language and attend local schools.

The woman said she went public so others would not be subject to what she described as potential "Islamaphobia".

"Deep in my heart, I know what happened to me and my friend was wrong. I feel so strongly about that. This was total harassment," she said.

Solicitor Derek Stewart, who is a director of the Immigration Council of Ireland, last night said that Sajida and her friend will be seeking for the company to make a donation to charities in Egypt and Syria.

hnews@herald.ie

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