Muslim women pay an expensive price for wearing hijab in North America

Posted on January 12, 2008

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Case #1: Muslim Woman Sues For Being Forced to Remove Her Headscarf

A Muslim woman arrested for riding a commuter train without a valid ticket has filed a federal lawsuit in the United States, claiming her religious freedom was violated when she was forced to remove her headscarf when she was taken to jail.

The suit, filed Dec. 5 in U.S. District Court by the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, names the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Deputy Craig Roberts of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Jameela Medina, 29, a Ph. D student at Claremont Graduate University, was riding a commuter train from San Bernardino to the California State University, Los Angeles station on Dec. 7, 2005, when she was arrested for having an invalid ticket.

Roberts handcuffed Medina, put her in the back of a police car and began driving her to a jail. According to the suit, Roberts “accused Medina of being a terrorist and supporting terrorism. He stated that Muslims are evil … and that the United States was in Iraq at God’s direction to squash evil,” read the suit.

At the West Valley Detention Center in San Bernardino, Medina was forced to remove her headscarf despite several attempts to explain to a female deputy why she wore it, the suit said. After several hours, Medina was released without being charged or fined, her lawyer said.

The suit seeks unspecified damages and attorney fees. [more]

Please read the whole article here.

Case #2:  Muslim Police Officer Appeals for Right to Wear Hijab

Kimberlie Webb has been a Philadelphia police officer since 1995 and a follower of the Islamic faith for just as long. But since 2003, the 35th District officer has been embroiled in a legal battle over her right to wear a khimar, a traditional head scarf worn by Muslim women, while in uniform.

Webb, 46, filed discrimination claims against the city with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2003 after the department suspended her for wearing the headdress while on duty.

The EEOC sided with her and in 2005, she sued the city in federal court, citing discrimination. But in June, a U.S. District Court judge dismissed her claims before trial after reviewing briefs from each side. This week, two lawyers – Jeffrey Pollock and Seval Yildirim – filed appeals on her behalf, saying Webb never had her day in court. Several organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union, are now backing her, too.

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Case #3: Lawsuits to Allow Muslim Female Soccer Players to Wear Hijab

With two provinces allowing religious head scarves to be worn on the soccer field, a Canadian Muslim association is lobbying the rest of the country – including Alberta – to follow suit.

The Canadian Council on American-Islamic Relations, based in Ottawa, has been pushing for the Canada-wide acceptance of the hijab on the soccer field for more than a year, spokesman Sameer Zuberi said yesterday.

He said he’s frustrated that while the governing soccer bodies of B.C. and Ontario have deemed the hijab safe to wear, other jurisdictions have declared it a safety threat.

“It almost seems there’s a question of whether we’re going to accept the hijab in Canadian society,” he said.

The controversy erupted in Calgary after 14-year-old Safaa Menhem was booted from a soccer match last Saturday because she wore a hijab. As the video below shows, this is not the first time that Muslim girls wearing hijab have been kicked out of soccer games. An 11 year old Asmahan Mansour was kicked out of a soccer game in Quebec, Canada :

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FIFA chickens out on the hijab ban in soccer: Ruling stands

Please click here to view the video follow-up to the safas Menhem case in Canada. FIFA chickened out. I suggest Muslim countries withdraw from FIFA if it will not respect the right of our sisters to choose to wear the hijab. The decision should not be left to referees or each country’s soccer commission.

Case #4: Muslim Woman Sues to Get Access to Swimming Pool

A woman was refused access to a swimming pool because she was wearing hijab.

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