CAIR-Chicago Communications Coordinator Reem Rahman was recently interviewed by 89.5 FM, a station of Chicago public radio, to share insight on a discrimination case in Georgia involving a Muslim woman who refused to remove her head scarf. The incident took place at a Douglasville courthouse where the woman was not permitted entry because of her headscarf. The woman, Lisa Valentine, expressed her frustration with the Court’s policy banning headgear and, following a verbal altercation, moved to leave the courthouse. She was then arrested and sentenced to 10 days in jail for being in contempt of court. Valentine commented about how she “felt stripped of civil rights.”
Rahman discussed how the incident was a “blatant affront to the rights guaranteed to us as Americans.” The Court’s policy violated the Judicial Code of Conduct which dictates that judicial duties must be performed without bias or prejudice. Under Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, denial of access to the courtroom based on religious beliefs or practices is discriminatory.
“The court’s duty is to uphold the rule of law,” said Rahman. “Such a blatant violation of our First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of religion and equal protection is unacceptable.”
CAIR-Georgia has taken an active role in asking that the Judge who enforced these policies be formally sanctioned and that he assure the public that individuals will no longer be discriminated against when entering the courtroom. Soon after CAIR-Chicago contacted the Department of Justice about the case, Ms. Valentine was released. Ms. Valentine has since received broad support from a number of civic organizations and the case has received international attention
SEE CAIR Press Release: Georgia Muslims Barred from Court Because of Hijab
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