In Lincoln Park Michigan, 200 Muslim women with memberships at Fitness USA are demanding seperate workout times for men and women. They have signed a petition asking the gyms to honor what they say was a promise made to them. The women are asking that the chain restore single-sex exercise days or at least put a divider up so men and women can’t see each other while exercising.

"In Islam, there are codes of modesty for both genders," said Ammerah Saidi, 23, of Dearborn. "When you’re working out, you’re not dressed modestly, and you’re bending in provocative ways, so you can’t be working out with the opposite gender."

It’s difficult to tackle this without sounding like a gun-toting redneck American, but I’ll give it a shot. Ammerah, this isn’t Islam, or an Islamic country. This is a country that has people from every faith, country, and background. Somehow we all get along in a nice relatively peaceful manner. We have churches of every faith and restaurants representing every culture. If you wanna practice your particular faith you go to that church. If you want to eat your particular food, you go to a restaurant that caters to it. If a Catholic wants to pray, he doesn’t go to a mosque, nor does he demand that the mosque have Catholic services on certain days of the week and vice versa. I don’t go to an Indian restaurant looking for Italian cuisine.

Now I have heard of workout facilities that cater to seperation of sexes, but like places of worship, they are specific to that faith. There’s Jewish Community Center in my town, that provides days for women to workout alone. While I feel it’s rather stupid, I appreciate the fact that they provide that service and don’t demand it of a publicly owned business that services the general publlic.

Now if these Muslim women were promised this, then sure they have a case. But in a broader sense of the matter, what we have is a religion trying to impose their beliefs on a company with no denomination. I see this matter as a business opportunity for the Muslim community. As with the Jewish community here, the Muslims need to establish a place of their own to suit their specific needs without impacting everyone else in their community.

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