Christian women ordered to stop praying inside US shopping mall

(Photo: REUTERS / Larry Downing)U.S. President Barack Obama prays after presenting the Medal of Honor to retired U.S. Marine Corps Corporal William "Kyle" Carpenter during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington, June 19, 2014. Carpenter received the award for "conspicuous gallantry" performed while serving in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.

Mall managers in Dublin, Georgia have ordered a group of U.S. shoppers not to pray openly inside a shopping area - not even over their meals.

The Dublin Girls, a Christian group involved in their community including running road races in Georgia, went to Dublin Mall for an evening power walk.

As the group prepared to pray, a mall police officer ran up to them and said, "You are not allowed to pray at the mall. That's against the policy," Dublin Girls co-founder Tammy Brantley told Fox News.

The women were surprised as this was not the first time they had prayed inside the mall.

"I told him we've been praying since last November and no one said anything about it," said Brantley.

The security guard explained that the mall had a problem with a religious group evangelizing to shoppers.

Brantley explained that they were not converting anybody but were just trying to pray. It is a solemn prayer and "You can't hear us unless you are in the circle," she said.

The women talked to the mall manager to clarify the policy.

He verified that prayer is not allowed because the mall is "private property." Barntley asked if the mall prohibits customers praying before meals, and the manager's reply discouraged the women.

A similar incident happened when the mall didn't allow patrons to ask God to bless General Tso's chicken at the food court's Chong Wah Express.

MCK Properties, owners of Dublin Mall, released a statement on its Facebook page Tuesday.

John Engler, vice president of MCK said, "Dublin Mall first and foremost has no issues or objection whatsoever with anyone of any religion denomination privately and quietly praying over their food before they eat."

It also had no objection to people showing devotion towards their religion provided it does not impose on others "or take away from the overall shopping experience."

The issue evoked some negative reactions from people and has prompted the creation of a Facebook page called "Power Display of Prayer."

The group successfully got a permit from the city to hold a prayer rally outside Dublin Mall.

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