In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OK OFFICER FIRED AFTER INCIDENT INVOLVING MUSLIM WOMAN
Arkansas woman questioned about decision to become a Muslim
(WASHINGTON, D.C., 2/1/07) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced today that one Oklahoma police officer has been relieved of his duties and another has been demoted after an incident involving a Muslim woman.
The woman, who lives in Arkansas and wears a religiously-mandated headscarf, reported that she was inappropriately interrogated about her faith after being stopped for a minor traffic violation in Webbers Falls, Okla., in November 2006. She was allegedly asked if she had any connection to the “guy who flew the plane into the building” and was questioned extensively about her decision to become a Muslim. (The woman is of European heritage and is a convert to Islam.)
According to the Muslim woman, she was asked twice whether she had a Quran, Islam’s revealed text, in her car. When one of the officers searched the trunk of the woman’s car, he allegedly shouted, “Look what I found,” when he discovered a book with Arabic script.
Following the intervention of CAIR’s Civil Rights Department, city officials sent a letter of apology to the Muslim woman stating: “(One officer) has been terminated for his actions, and the Board has demoted (the other officer), until further notice.” (CAIR is withholding the names of the officers due to privacy concerns.)
“We thank city officials for taking appropriate actions to resolve this disturbing incident,” said CAIR Civil Rights Manager Khadija Athman. “Police officers have a duty to protect the public, but they do not have the right to go beyond their constitutional authority in questioning a suspect.”
CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 32 offices and chapters 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.
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