Whatever the reason Zainab Mana was not permitted to drive a go-kart at a Gatineau track last week, the 16-year-old Muslim teen was left with a humiliating feeling that "I didn't belong there."
Top Karting on Edmonton Street says it turned away the Barrhaven teenager on Oct. 9 because she refused to comply with a safety policy that required her to remove her hijab, a veil worn by some Muslim women over the head and chest.
Zainab, who was at the indoor track with two brothers, acknowledges that safety reasons were cited by someone who said he was the manager as to why hijabs and other pieces of clothing such as scarves could not be worn on the track. Even so, she says she has little doubt the hijab ban is rooted in religious discrimination against Muslims. In a telephone conversation that Zainab's older sister, Fatima, taped when she contacted Top Karting afterward, a man who spoke to her eventually became agitated and profane. At one point, he told Fatima: "We don't allow s— on your head" ... and "go the f—" elsewhere.