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GOOD NEWS ALERT: CAIR Commends South Carolina Jail for Protecting Constitutional Rights of Muslim Detainee Wearing a Hijab

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/6/2019) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, today commended the J. Reuben Long Detention Center and Horry County Sheriff’s Department in South Carolina for taking corrective action to address civil rights violations committed by correctional staff against a Muslim American woman who was detained at the facility.

CAIR’s Georgia chapter (CAIR-Georgia) learned that a South Carolina Muslim woman detained at the jail had been forced to expose her hair in the presence of male officers and to pose for booking photographs, which were then published on the Horry County Sheriff’s Department website and a third-party website. Jail staff also reportedly confiscated a prayer rug provided to her by the jail’s chaplain.

After CAIR-Georgia and CAIR National called on the jail to uphold the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom, the facility allowed the Muslim woman to cover her hair with a scarf, gave her a prayer rug and replaced her original booking photos with new photos in which her hair is covered.

 “We thank staff and management at the J. Reuben Long Detention Center for their swift response to the concerns we raised about mistreatment of a Muslim woman detained at the jail,” said Edward Ahmed Mitchell, executive director of CAIR-Georgia. “Even in a jail, every American has the right to freely and safely practice their faith. The First Amendment does not end at the walls of jail.”

“Our organization is steadfast in its efforts to enforce the rule of law as it relates to an individual’s constitutional right to be free from discrimination,” said Ankur Sakaria, staff attorney at CAIR National. “It is essential that we advocate to secure just outcomes for individuals who face hostility, animus, and discriminatory behavior.”

The Washington-based civil rights organization offers an educational toolkit, called “A Correctional Institution’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices,” to help correctional officers and administrators gain a better understanding of Islam and Muslims.

SEE: A Correctional Institution’s Guide to Islamic Religious Practices

CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its 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.


CONTACT: CAIR-GA Executive Director Edward Mitchell,, 404-285-9530; CAIR National Litigation Director and General Counsel Lena Masri,, 248-390-9784; CAIR National Staff Attorney Ankur Sakaria,, 202-516-4722; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,


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