Tonight’s “Under the Radar” segment comes to us from Arlington Heights, Illinois. That’s where a 24-year-old Muslim woman, Rehana Khan, says police violated her religious principles by removing her head scarf after arresting her for battery, to which she later pled guilty.
Officials deny wrongdoing, saying cops followed standard procedures. My next guest says the police actions were akin to ripping off her blouse, creating, quote, “a state of forced nudity”.
Ahmed Rehab is the spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations. He joins us tonight from Chicago. . .
AHMED REHAB, SPOKESMAN, CAIR: Glad to be on.
CARLSON: Now the cops – I’m a little confused as to what exactly your complaint is. The police made it pretty clear, her religion had nothing to do with their actions. It’s police policy to remove from someone arrested, particularly for a violent crime, as this woman was arrested for, anything that could be used as a weapon or any garment in which a weapon could be hidden.
I think the exact quote from the cops, the police spokesman was, “If a priest was wearing a cross around his neck, we’d take it off.”
Why does this woman want special treatment?
REHAB: That actually does not make much sense to me, because it is inconsistent with what the police have done in the past. There are two things that the police normally would do. One is pat on a person’s clothing to ensure that nothing is concealed under a
person’s clothing, whether it’s a blouse, a skirt or a head scarf.
And then, two, if they feel that it is necessary for them to take that person and actually strip search them, they don’t do it publicly. They take them into a private area and purport to do that with an officer of the same gender as the individual that’s being searched.
CARLSON: Strip searched? It’s take a head scarf off. I mean, look, if a man is wearing a hat and he’s arrested, the police make him take the hat off, because they’re afraid he might have an ice pick in his hat. That’s just — that’s what they do.
REHAB: Well, let me ask you this. If they had removed her blouse or skirt, would you have considered that to be a strip search or no?
CARLSON: Yes, but they didn’t remove her blouse or skirt. It was her head scarf, which…
REHAB: That’s precisely the point, Tucker. Whose standards are you using for what strip is? For this girl, as a female, she has a right to conceal whichever part of body she wants. Her hair is and her head scarf, really, is just like her blouse and her skirt. You cannot remove any of these articles of clothing.
CARLSON: She may have that — I don’t know. You seem to be making up your own rules, but the rules in America are she may have that right, but she forfeits it when she punches a cop, as she did. So she no longer has that right to do whatever she wants.
REHAB: Do you forfeit your right to — do you forfeit your right to have your blouse or skirt removed in public by a police officer?
CARLSON: I don’t know, if…
REHAB: Because you punched them, allegedly?
CARLSON: If the police — Not allegedly. She pled guilty to it.
REHAB: What I’m trying to say is…
CARLSON: Read the news.
REHAB: What I’m trying to tell you…
REHAB: … is that a scarf for a Muslim woman who wears a scarf…
REHAB: … because she believes it is religiously mandated is no different than a blouse or a skirt. That is the standard…
CARLSON: I don’t know. I’m not sure — I’m no expert on…
REHAB: She’s not thinking of Tucker Carlson’s standards of clothing but her own.
CARLSON: Slow down. I’m not an expert on Islamic customs here. But it seems to me…
REHAB: Then you shouldn’t be making a — statements about her clothing if you’re not an expert.
CARLSON: Is it my — I’m merely asking you questions, to which hopefully you can provide answers. Do — it’s my understanding that a woman would take her head scarf off, say, in front of her children, where she would not — in front of her grown children, where she would not take her blouse off in front of her grown children. That is right, isn’t it? That’s not exactly the same as a blouse.
REHAB: But in public, in public in front of men to whom she’s not married, if it’s not her husband or her father or brother, no male member of her family is present, she does not remove her scarf at all.
CARLSON: Here’s the bottom line.
REHAB: And if she tells the officer not to remove the scarf because she has it on for religious reasons, then that officer has to respect her civil right to dress the way she wants and to practice her religion because she’s not…
CARLSON: You can say that all you want. I can say, “I’m carrying my sacred handgun. And to take it away from me, you’d be violating my religious rights.” And you know what I mean? “I’m going to sue you.”
OK, fine. But the cops are still going to say, look, that’s a threat to my safety. I’m sorry. You may say that’s your religious right, but I feel it’s a threat. OK? So you know, we have conflicting interests.
REHAB: See, that’s the difference…
CARLSON: And in a secular society the secular interest, the interest of safety wins. I’m sorry.
REHAB: You can argue — you can argue that a woman covering her breasts is a religious thing to do or a secular thing to do. And we’re not going to get into details of why a person does what they do.
If they decide — if a woman decides to conceal a certain part of her body, she has a right to that self-determination. You cannot take that away from her. No police officer can take that away from her.
If we are concerned about security, then I’ll ask you this. Why not remove her boots? Her boots are harder than her head scarf. It is a soft clothing on her head that does not present any peril or danger to anyone.
CARLSON: I don’t know. I’m not a cop and I guess you’re not either. That seems to be the policy developed, presumably for a good reason over a good number of years, because there are threats that you emanate from people’s head covering.
REHAB: That is not true. The policy is that they pat down — they pat down on people’s clothes. They do not remove people’s clothings. It’s never happened before.
CARLSON: Just one closing piece of advice: as a civil rights hero, I think this woman — I mean, it’s hard to hold her up as an example if she just pleaded guilty to punching the cop. It makes the case – not to give you unsolicited advice, but less compelling.
REHAB: That’s half the story. That’s half the story, Tucker, because it was a plea bargain, and they dropped charges.
CARLSON: OK. I’m just saying it’s hard to make her Rosa Parks if she’s running around hitting cops. Just my view.
REHAB: She’s not trying to make herself a Rosa Parks. She’s trying to say, “I’m a woman, and I have a right to maintain my head scarf if I so want it on my head.
CARLSON: All right.
REHAB: No one can remove it from me.
CARLSON: Not in America, as far as I’m concerned. But you know…
REHAB: She’s an American citizen practicing her American civil rights.
CARLSON: All right.
REHAB: She wears those. When she’s having a head scarf on her head, she’s being and American practicing her civil rights.
CARLSON: OK. Until she punches a cop. But we’ve had this argument. We have to stop now. Mr. Rehab, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.
REHAB: Thank you. Not a problem.