CAIR, MUSLIM LAWYERS MEET WITH GA OFFICIALS ON COURT HIJAB
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 7/11/07) – Representatives of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers (GAML) met today with city and court officials in Valdosta, Ga., to discuss policies regarding the wearing of Islamic headscarves, or hijab, in local courtrooms.
Those who took part in the meeting termed it “productive,” but said more discussions about the existing policy concerning headwear will be needed.
“Details of the headwear policy still need to be worked out and that will require more discussions,” said CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, who took part in today’s meeting. “The ultimate goal of this cooperative process is to protect the religious and legal rights of all Georgians while maintaining courtroom safety and security.”
CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Ahmed Bedier also took part in the meeting.
“We are encouraged by today’s discussions and look forward to future dialogue to resolve the issue in its entirety,” said GAML Steering Committee Member M. Yusuf Mohamed.
The meeting was prompted by a June incident in which a Muslim woman seeking to contest a speeding ticket was barred from a Valdosta courtroom because she wears an Islamic headscarf.
According to the woman, the officers barred her entry despite being told that she wears the scarf for religious reasons and after she offered to let a female officer perform a body search. One of the officers allegedly stated that the denial of entry to the courtroom was due to “homeland security.”
In a letter to the Georgia attorney general, CAIR said the judge’s actions violate the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of religion and equal protection under the law.
CAIR requested assurances that Muslim women and all others wearing religious attire be allowed in court.
CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 33 offices, chapters and affiliates nationwide and in Canada. 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.
CONTACT: CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org