Somalis consider lawsuit against playland

Blanket ban amounts to discrimination, members of Somali community say

 

Somalis in the Aarhus area are considering filing a lawsuit against the owner of an indoor playground in Brabrand, a suburb of Aarhus, after Legeland owner Thomas Vestergaard banned Somalis from the playground.

“Somali associations are shocked at the Aarhus playground Legeland’s decision to exclude law-abiding Danish citizens of Somali origin from patronising their business,” said the group AarhuSomali in an official statement.

After meeting with another Somali group, the Somali Society of Denmark, on Saturday, Vestergaard rescinded his ban, which would have turned Somalis away for the next six months.

The ban ultimately lasted for only one day.

Vestergaard had decided to ban all Somalis after he said a gathering of 900 Somalis celebrating an Islamic holiday became so rambunctious that it scared away other guests.

Human rights experts called the ban illegal.

“This clearly violates racism laws, which say you can’t discriminate based on nationality or skin color, and that’s the case here,” Jonas Christoffersen, a lawyer and the director of the Institut for Mennseskerettigheder, told Jyllands-Posten newspaper.

Vestgaard rescinded that ban after he said the Somalis accepted that “they needed to treat our property with respect”.

“They are welcome again,” he told Aarhus Stiftstidende newspaper

Abdirashiid Sheikh, who heads the Somali Society of Denmark, expressed relief that Vestergaard had rescinded the ban. He considered the case closed.

“We can definitely understand that he needs to take care of his business,” said Sheikh. “We will tell the Somali community that people need to behave properly. We have agreed with Thomas Vestergaard that he should call us if there is anything that our organisation can help him with.”

But Somalis in the Aarhus area are not satisfied.

“AarhuSomali has discussed whether this case should have consequences for Legeland’s owner. In the coming days, we will consult our legal advisors about the next steps.”

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