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CAIR-Michigan Welcomes Judge’s Order Denying MDOC Director’s Motion to Dismiss Her from Lawsuit Over ID Photos Without Hijab  

(CANTON, MI, 8/19/2021) – The Michigan chapter of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), a chapter of the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today welcomed Judge Borman’s decision denying the director of the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) Heidi Washington’s Motion to Dismiss her from the lawsuit filed on behalf of several Muslim and Moorish Science Temple of America women who have been forced to remove their hijab (Islamic head scarves) for identification photos that are then posted publicly on MDOC’s website.  

In December 2020, a lawsuit was filed by several women at the Women’s Huron Valley Correctional Facility alleging that MDOC’s policy requiring them to remove their hijab for identification photos that are then placed on identification cards and a public website operated by MDOC  is a violation of their First Amendment Rights and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA).  

SEE: Michigan Prisons Sued for ID Photos of Muslim Women Without Hijabs  

https://www.fox2detroit.com/news/michigan-prisons-sued-for-id-photos-of-muslim-women-without-hijabs

Defendant Heidi Washington who is responsible for creation and implementation of the MDOC’s photograph policy filed a motion to dismiss her from the lawsuit alleging that despite her personal involvement in the policy she should not be held liable for the Constitutional violation of the women. Judge Borman, of the Federal Eastern District of Michigan, issued his Opinion and Order today denying Defendant Washington’s request to remove her as a Defendant from the lawsuit leaving Defendant Washington to face personal liability for her actions.  

“The forceful removal of a Muslim woman’s hijab for a photograph that is shared online is a clear violation of the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause,” said Amy V. Doukoure, CAIR-MI Staff attorney. “We are pleased that Judge Borman refused to let those who insist on continuing to violate the religious rights of Muslims, especially those most vulnerable like our incarcerated brothers and sisters, escape liability without having to answer for the violation.”  

CAIR’s mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, 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.       

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

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