A group of women in Dublin, Georgia are fighting back after the managers of a popular shopping mall told them they weren’t allowed to pray there.
The “Dublin Girls Run,” co-founded by mom and power-walker Tammy Brantley, is a group of about 10 women who frequent the Dublin Mall on a weekly basis to walk. They begin each session with a group prayer circle, but two weeks ago, they were reportedly told not to practice their religion in front of the mall, reports 13 WMAZ.
Brantley says she and her group have been conducting the group prayer circle since November 2013 and that they weren’t being disruptive or violating the mall’s Code of Conduct, which states that “disorderly conduct, or other disturbances which disrupt or endanger any patrons, guest, merchant or employee in the shopping center is not allowed.”
“The security guard came running toward us and said, ‘You are not allowed to pray at the mall. That’s against the policy,’” Brantley told Fox News. “I told him we’ve been praying since last November and no one said anything about it. We’ve never had any problems.”
The guard reportedly told Brantley they had an issue with another mall patron who was harassing shoppers by trying to convert them, but the woman says that, unless someone was standing right in their circle, they wouldn’t be able to hear the women pray.
Brantley took to Facebook later that evening to share her story. A local newspaper picked up The Dublin Girls’ story, and a Facebook page called “Power Display of Prayer” was created in their honor.
John Engler, the vice president of MCK Properties, which owns the Dublin Mall, released the following statement:
The Dublin Mall over the last week has been the subject of conversation throughout the community. Through meeting with some of the various people involved, some of the stories have merit while others have gone off the deep end and due to the sensitive issue have publicly hampered the Dublin Mall. The Mall first and foremost has no objection whatsoever with anyone or any religion denomination privately and quietly praying over their food before they eat or showing devotion towards their religion of choice provided it does not impose itself on others or take away from the overall shopping experience.
Since the incident, the group has obtained a city permit to hold a prayer rally outside of the mall this week.