Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Michigan Judge's Hijab Ban Spurs Lawsuit
The Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations says it is filing a federal lawsuit against a Wayne County, Michigan judge who demanded that that a Muslim woman remove her hijab in court. CAIR says the woman felt so intimidated by the judge’s repeated demand that she eventually removed her religious headscarf.
The suit follows a Michigan Supreme Court ruling backing another judge's similar order to a Muslim woman to remove her hijab so he could see her face to help determine her truthfulness while testifying in a small claims case. In that case, the woman refused and the judge tossed out her claim against a rental car company.
“The judge’s actions contradict both the constitutional right to freedom of religion and President Obama's recent statement in support of the right to wear hijab,” said CAIR attorney Melanie Elturk. “This judge targeted a Muslim woman’s religious attire, but he could just as easily have demanded the removal of a Sikh turban, Jewish yarmulke or a Catholic nun’s habit.”
In President Obama’s June address to Muslims worldwide, he said that freedom in America is, "indivisible from the freedom to practice one's religion.
"That is why," he said "the U.S. government has gone to court to protect the right of women and girls to wear the hijab, and to punish those who would deny it."