Detroit Muslim Women Angered Over Fitness Center Policy

April 21, 2006

Source: Detroit Free Press

On April 21, 2006 the Detroit Free Press reported, "When Arrwa Mogalli agreed to plunk down $1,465 for a lifetime membership with the Fitness USA chain of gyms, she did so after being promised that its Lincoln Park facility would be open only to women on certain days. As a devout Muslim, Mogalli firmly believes her religion frowns on her working out where she could see men -- and men could see her -- moving and dressed in a manner that might seem immodest. So when the Lincoln Park gym decided this month to open up part of the center to both sexes every day, the 28-year-old Dearborn resident and other area Muslims felt cheated. So far, about 200 Muslim women with Fitness USA memberships have signed a petition asking the chain to return to gender-specific days for the entire gym or to put up a divider so men and women can't see each other while working out. Fitness USA officials met with one of the women and a Muslim advocate this week at their corporate office in West Bloomfield and said they are working on a response to the women's concerns. But they also noted that their written contracts say nothing about gender."