Press Releases

CAIR-MI Welcomes Federal Judge’s Order Denying City of Detroit, MDOC’S Motion to Dismiss Hijab Booking Photo Lawsuit  

(CANTON, MI, 9/7/2021) – The Michigan chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), a local chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed Judge Nancy G. Edmund’s decision denying the City of Detroit and the Michigan Department of Correction’s (MDOC) Motion to Dismiss a pending lawsuit regarding the forced removal of Zainab Chaaban’s hijab for a mugshot when she was being detained at the Detroit Detention Center.  


In October 2020, CAIR-MI filed a lawsuit on behalf of Zainab Chaaban after she was arrested in the City of Detroit and was held at the Detroit Detention Center and threatened with discipline and retaliation for refusing to remove her hijab for a booking photo. Once the booking photo was taken, Chaaban saw male officers looking at her photo and commenting on it, and she was forced to wear her photo on a wrist band and show it to male officers upon demand.  

SEE: Hijab Removal for Mugshot Prompts Federal Lawsuit Against Detroit City Jail, MDOC

This decision follows Federal Judge Borman’s Decision late last month requiring the MDOC to answer to allegations that they violated the rights of Muslim and Moorish women housed in the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility when they forced those women to remove their religious head-covering for photographs that are housed on a public website. 

SEE:  Judge Denies Michigan Corrections Director’s Motion to Dismiss Hijab Lawsuit Against Her

In her decision Judge Edmunds denied the Defendant’s claims they were not liable to Chaaban for the serious violation of her First Amendment Rights and ordered that the Defendants answer the Complaint filed against them. Judge Edmunds stated in her order that the Defendants have so far not pointed to any penological interest for their policy of forcing Chaaban to remove her hijab and she further stated that “[I]t defies logic that officers operating a facility in Detroit, near one of the nation’s largest Muslim communities would not be aware of the religious significance of the hijab.” 

“Ms. Chaaban protested the removal of her hijab for booking photos and was threatened with discipline and being left in a public cell to sleep on a floor if she failed to comply,” said Amy V. Doukoure, CAIR-MI Staff attorney. “We agree with Judge Edmund’s statements that it is completely illogical that those operating the Detroit Detention Center were not aware of the requirements of Ms. Chaaban’s faith to not be photographed without her hijab. The Defendants have ignored Ms. Chaaban’s pleas, they have ignored the rights of Muslim women, and now they must answer for their intentional violation of Ms. Chaaban’s First Amendment Rights.”  

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.  

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.  


CONTACT: CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy V. Doukoure (586) 943-8823, : CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid (248) 842-1418,  

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