Muslim Arrested Over Head Scarf In Courtroom

DOUGLASVILLE, Ga. – A head scarf landed a Muslim woman in jail Tuesday after she refused to remove it during a hearing at the Douglasville Municipal Court.

Lisa Valentine, also known by her Islamic name, Miedah, 40, was arrested for ‘violating a court policy of no headgear’, Chris Womack, deputy chief of operations for the Douglasville Police Department said on Wednesday.
Valentine was in court with a nephew who was facing a traffic citation. She was wearing a hijab, the head covering worn by Muslim women.

When she refused to remove it she was handcuffed and taken to Judge Keith Rollins’ chambers. He cited her for contempt and ordered her held in jail for 10 days.

So much for her 1st ammendment rights

[sign]Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; [/sign]

Yes but doesn’t the Quran say you must obey the laws of the country your in?

Perhaps, but in this case the law seems to be unconstitutional.

Should Chinese Catholics obey the draconian ‘‘one child policy’’ in their country? The Bible also says to obey the laws.

This has nothing to do with religion or the establishment or practice thereof.

This has everything to do with reasonable laws designed to protect innocents and to discourage potential attackers in the court. Most financial institutions have similar rules stating that you can be refused service if your face is obstructed in such a way that you couldn’t be recognized on camera.

Hijab doesn’t necessarilly mean it covered her face (Niqab, Burqa etc), surely the problem could have been remedied by taking a photo of her face beforehand…then if something happened she could be identified (I assume she was the only person in court with her head covered).

A head scarf (hijab) isn’t going to cover a person’s face. As LDNCatholic mentioned, either a niqaab (face veil) or burqa (head to toe robe) would cover the face. But those things weren’t being worn.

The arrest of Lisa Miedah Valentine is definitely a First Amendment issue.

Arrested for wearing head scarf in court. - See this image on Photobucket.

BTW, here is the link to the news story:

Well, if the above picture is a hijab then I have to agree that I see no issue with it outside of religion. I assume she agreed to walk through the scanners and such. It does begin to smack of 1st amendment abuses.

I wonder if the judge would have tried to force an orthodox Jewish man to remove his yarmulke.

I think I already know the answer.

Edit: I found an answer. Some idiot in Texas did just that.

**Laurence Tribe, a professor of constitutional law at Harvard Law School, said that while the case might be complicated if there were a general rule regarding head wear, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress in 1993 requires that such general rules give way to strongly held religious convictions unless they meet the test of compelling necessity.

Robert Flowers, executive director of the State Commission on Judicial Conduct, the governing authority for all judicial complaints, said he could not comment on the incident.

He said all complaints were investigated. After the investigation, a complaint may be dismissed or a judge may be called before the commission. At that point, the commission may dismiss the complaint or may issue a private or public admonition, warning or reprimand. In the most egregious cases, formal proceedings may be undertaken.

Judge David West, administrative judge for the Harris County District Courts, said there was ‘‘absolutely not’’ a county policy that would ban the wearing of religious symbols in the courtroom. **

Apparently, this kind of thing is in violation of the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act:

The law reinstated the Sherbert Test, mandating that strict scrutiny be used when determining if the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, guaranteeing religious freedom, has been violated. In this, the court must first determine whether the person has a claim involving a sincere religious belief, and whether the government action is a substantial burden on the person’s ability to act on that belief; if these two elements are established, then the government must prove that it is acting in furtherance of a compelling state interest, and that it has pursued that interest in the manner least restrictive, or least burdensome, to religion.


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