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Girl, four others face four-year jail term
April 23, 2006

By Masood Haider

NEW YORK, April 23: The trial involving Rehana Khan, a Muslim girl of Pakistani-origin who had her headscarf (or hijab) ripped off after she and several others were arrested for civil disobedience while protesting at a rally for immigrants’ rights last year, has been scheduled for April 25.

According to New Jersey-based website ‘Despardes’, a group of five young people are facing up to four years in jail for a protest against the racist vigilante group, the Minutemen. Two Illinois state attorneys have reportedly refused to discuss a plea without jail time.

Illinois resident Rehana, while being led to a police squad car, reportedly informed an officer that the way in which she was being handled was causing extreme pain and requested the officer to ease her grip. The officer responded by stating: “No, that ’s what you get,” and then remarked, “Take that off” and violently pulled off her hijab, reported Council on American Islamic Relations (Cair).

At the police station, Ms Khan was made to take off her hijab again and was searched by a female and male officer without her hijab on. After the search, the female officer tried to give the hijab back to her but the male officer stopped her, saying something which meant there was nobody at the station to look at her and indicated that the practice of wearing the hijab was a “fashion statement.” Ms Khan was then kept in lock-up without being permitted to wear her hijab.

Cair-Chicago will be meeting with representatives of the village of Arlington Heights to discuss the police misconduct matter in upcoming days. Illinois’ immigrant population numbers around 1.5 million.

Copyright © 2006, DAWN Group of Newspapers

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