Muslim Woman Cites Gym after Interrupted Prayer

December 5, 2006

Author: Greg Krupa

Source: The Detroit News

DEARBORN -- Fitness USA, a gym chain, is investigating an alleged civil rights violation involving a local Muslim woman who says her afternoon prayer was interrupted by a fellow patron, and that her complaint to management about the situation was rejected.

"The manager told me, 'You have to respect her (the patron), but she does not have to respect your God,' " said Wardeh Sultan of Dearborn. "I've had my membership for seven or eight years, and I've never had a problem with praying there.

"I told that manager, 'I can't believe you said that' " Sultan said. "Honestly, I feel humiliated and I feel ashamed, right now, to go back to Fitness USA."

Local representatives of Fitness USA, which operates branches throughout Metro Detroit and in two other states, referred all inquiries regarding the matter to their corporate offices.

"We will, as we will with any complaint involving our staff and a member, be doing a full and thorough investigation of the matter and take any appropriate action we need to take," said Jodi Berry, executive director of Fitness USA. "We want every member to get a good exercise experience every time they come to the club."