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Georgia Muslim Jailed Over Head Scarf


Last Edited: December 17, 2008, 2:02 pm

Ga. Muslim jailed over head scarf

Ga. resident refused to remove hijab at court's security checkpoint
The Associated Press
updated 11:30 a.m. ET, Wed., Dec. 17, 2008

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. - A judge ordered a Muslim woman arrested Tuesday for contempt of court for refusing to take off her head scarf at a security checkpoint.

The judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail, said police in Douglasville, a city of about 20,000 people on Atlanta's west suburban outskirts.

Valentine violated a court policy that prohibits people from wearing any headgear in court, police said.

The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations urged federal authorities to investigate the incident as well as others in Georgia.

"I just felt stripped of my civil, my human rights," Valentine told The Associated Press on Wednesday from her home, after she said she was unexpectedly released once CAIR got involved. Jail officials declined to say why she was freed.

No comment from judge
Municipal Court Judge Keith Rollins said that "it would not be appropriate" for him to comment on the case.

Last year, a judge in Valdosta in southern Georgia barred a Muslim woman from entering a courtroom because she would not remove her head scarf. There have been similar cases in other states, including Michigan, where a Muslim woman in Detroit filed a federal lawsuit in February 2007 after a judge dismissed her small-claims court case when she refused to remove a head and face veil.

Valentine's husband, Omar Hall, said his wife was accompanying her nephew to a traffic citation hearing when officials stopped her at the metal detector and told her she would not be allowed in the courtroom with the head scarf, known as a hijab.

Hall said Valentine, an insurance underwriter, told the bailiff that she had been in courtrooms before with the scarf on and that removing it would be a religious violation. When she turned to leave and uttered an expletive, Hall said a bailiff handcuffed her and took her before the judge.

Entry #632


PeacefulManComment by PeacefulMan - December 17, 2008, 3:11 pm
They knew they probably screwed up and that's why they released her after 4 hours.
Litebets27Comment by Litebets27 - December 17, 2008, 6:17 pm
Oh boy! Ignorance is everywhere.
justxploringComment by justxploring - December 17, 2008, 6:37 pm
I disagree that "they screwed up."   In the United States we have Freedom of Religion, but it doesn't mean that that freedom includes breaking the law. Our security comes first and, if she didn't agree with the law (which applies to everyone & does not discriminate) she should have stayed home.
emilygComment by emilyg - December 17, 2008, 7:18 pm
No one is above the law.
NBey6Comment by NBey6 - December 17, 2008, 7:46 pm
If this is not an across the board "law" then she and her spouse should sue. The bailiff was clearly in the wrong in aprehending her that's why they let her go. She was not in the court room because the bailiff didn't allow her in. I would take to it to the high Court.
Litebets27Comment by Litebets27 - December 17, 2008, 10:10 pm
The U.S. Federal Court has a policy to take persons who wear religious garb aside in a private room to be searched. This includes Muslims, Orthodox Jews, Armish and anyone else that wear clothing that covers the body more than normal. unless they are criminals that are required to wear the prison issued jumpsuits, the person is usually allowed to continue wearing their garb after the person is searched thoroughly.
jarasanComment by jarasan - December 18, 2008, 12:33 am
Valentine a Muslim name? Uttering expletives? In this country you show decorum and respect while in the court. You don't bring cell phones in or disregard anything the bailiff requests. You also don't throw shoes, try it and see what happens!

PeacefulManComment by PeacefulMan - December 19, 2008, 9:36 pm
The courts in the U.S. are 'color of courts'. Check it out sometime.
~ Peace ~

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