(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/24/09) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today applauded a decision by the Judicial Council of Georgia to allow religious attire such as Islamic headscarves, or hijab, in that state’s courtrooms.
SEE: Muslim Headscarves to be Allowed in Georgia Courtrooms (Atlanta Journal)
In a press release issued today, the Judicial Council of Georgia said in part:
“The measure stems from the December 2008 arrest of Lisa Valentine after she refused to remove her hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women. She said to do so would violate her faith. But Judge Keith Rollins of the Douglasville Municipal Court found her in contempt of court and ordered her to serve 10 days in jail.
“The incident prompted a formal complaint from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Anti-Defamation League, Council on American-Islamic Relations and American Civil Liberties Union also lodged complaints.
SEE: Muslim’s Scarf Leads to Arrest at Courthouse (Atlanta Journal)
The new policy states:
“’Head coverings are prohibited from the courtroom except in cases where the covering is worn for medical or religious reasons. To the extent security requires a search of a person wearing a head covering for medical or religious reasons, the individual has the option of having the inspection performed by a same-sex officer in a private area. The individual is allowed to put his or her own head covering back on after the inspection is complete.’”
“We applaud the decision of the Judicial Council of Georgia to uphold freedom of religion and unencumbered access to the legal system for Georgians of all faiths,” said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. “This decision once again demonstrates that America is a diverse and inclusive nation.”
Hooper said CAIR recently expressed concerns about a proposed Oregon law that would reinforce an existing ban on religious attire for teachers in that state.
SEE: Oregon Bill Reinforces Ban on Muslim Teachers
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, 202-341-4171, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org