4 suspects in Playland melee plead not guilty – LoHud – September 6, 2011

The following article was written by Andrew Klappholz and published at LoHud.com:

September 6, 2011 – RYE — Four Muslims accused of disorderly conduct during a melee at Playland last week pleaded not guilty Tuesday in local court.

“The allegations didn’t make up disorderly conduct,” said their lawyer, Gideon Oliver, who specializes in group arrests and civil rights issues.

The suspects — Dalia Nazzal, 18, and Noor Jaber, 45, of Spring Valley; and Entisar Ali, 34, and Fuad Alnajjar, 37, of Brooklyn — are among 15 Muslims arrested in the Aug. 30 incident, which was sparked by Playland’s safety policy prohibiting headgear , including traditional Muslim head scarves, from major rides.

About 30 to 40 visitors, who were among about 3,000 in a group organized by the Muslim American Society of New York, scuffled with authorities after complaining because they couldn’t go on the rides.

Most face minor violations, but two are charged with felony assault.

The rest are due in court later this month.

Oliver said his clients weren’t looking for trouble and were simply caught up in the melee. Along with co-counsel Lamis Deek, he might also represent others from the group. Both lawyers are based in Manhattan.

They have until Sept. 20 to file motions, and Oliver said he would move to have the charges dismissed. Prosecutors will have until Oct. 4 to respond, and the defendants can reply to the response by Oct. 11.

On Oct. 25, City Judge Joseph Latwin will hold a control hearing at which he might rule on the motions.

All three female defendants wore their traditional hijab head scarves in court Tuesday.

Nazzal and Jaber were called during the morning session, but didn’t appear until the afternoon — a move that seemed to irk the judge.

“I’m not going to be inclined to do that on a regular basis,” Latwin said. “I’m on the bench at 9. We start at 9.”

Deek said the delay was because it was Nazzal’s first day of class at high school.

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