SBD/Issue 52/Facilities & Venues

Keeping The Faith: NJSEA Creates Prayer Areas At Facilities

NJSEA officials said that the organization will set aside areas at Giants Stadium and Continental Airlines Arena “for fans who want to pray,” according to Diamant & Ben-Ali of the Newark STAR-LEDGER. The decision, which is believed to be the first such designation in the country, follows the detention of five Muslim fans who knelt in prayer during Giants-Saints September 19 at the stadium. NJSEA President & CEO George Zoffinger said, “I think that we handled this situation with sensitivity, and it’s the right thing. We reached out to the people in the community who felt offended and we put in an expert on both Muslim culture and religion to address all our staff in terms of the sensitivities involved.” Sami Shaban, one of the men detained, said, “It’s a very good start. ... It was not our main aim, though. Our main aim was to bring to light and educate people about what it is we’re supposed to do, that (our praying) is not suspicious behavior and we shouldn’t have been treated like this” (Newark STAR-LEDGER, 11/22).

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