Tonight`s "Under the Radar" segment comes to us from Arlington
Heights, Illinois. That`s where a 24-year-old Muslim woman, Rehana
Khan, says police violated her religious principles by removing her
head scarf after arresting her for battery, to which she later pled guilty.
Officials deny wrongdoing, saying cops followed standard procedures.
My next guest says the police actions were akin to ripping off her
blouse, creating, quote, "a state of forced nudity".
Ahmed Rehab is the spokesman for the Council on American Islamic
Relations. He joins us tonight from Chicago.
Thanks for coming on.
Can you hear me, Mr. Rehab? Are you there?
I don`t think Mr. Rehab is there, so we`re going to take a -- we will
be right back. It`s going to be worth waiting for. We`ll see you in
just a second...
CARLSON: Welcome back. We start where we left off, with the story of
a 24-year-old Muslim activist woman arrested recently for battery
outside Chicago. Police made her remove her head scarf. She said that
was a violation of her religious principles.
We are joined now by a man who agrees with her. His name is Ahmed
Rehab. He`s a spokesman for CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic
Relations. He joins us from Chicago.
Mr. Rehab, thanks for coming on.
AHMED REHAB, SPOKESMAN, CAIR: Glad to be on.
CARLSON: Now the cops 0- I`m a little confused as to what exactly
your complaint is. The police made it pretty clear, her religion had
nothing to do with their actions. It`s police policy to remove from
someone arrested, particularly for a violent crime, as this woman was
arrested for, anything that could be used as a weapon or any garment
in which a weapon could be hidden.
I think the exact quote from the cops, the police spokesman was, "If
a priest was wearing a cross around his neck, we`d take it off."
Why does this woman want special treatment?
REHAB: That actually does not make much sense to me, because it is
inconsistent with what the police have done in the past. There are
two things that the police normally would do. One is pat on a
person`s clothing to ensure that nothing is concealed under a
person`s clothing, whether it`s a blouse, a skirt or a head scarf.
And then, two, if they feel that it is necessary for them to take
that person and actually strip search them, they don`t do it
publicly. They take them into a private area and purport to do that
with an officer of the same gender as the individual that`s being searched.
CARLSON: Strip searched? It`s take a head scarf off. I mean, look, if
a man is wearing a hat and he`s arrested, the police make him take
the hat off, because they`re afraid he might have an ice pick in his
hat. That`s just -- that`s what they do.
REHAB: Well, let me ask you this. If they had removed her blouse or
skirt, would you have considered that to be a strip search or no?
CARLSON: Yes, but they didn`t remove her blouse or skirt. It was her
head scarf, which...
REHAB: That`s precisely the point, Tucker. Whose standards are you
using for what strip is? For this girl, as a female, she has a right
to conceal whichever part of body she wants. Her hair is and her head
scarf, really, is just like her blouse and her skirt. You cannot
remove any of these articles of clothing.
CARLSON: She may have that -- I don`t know. You seem to be making up
your own rules, but the rules in America are she may have that right,
but she forfeits it when she punches a cop, as she did. So she no
longer has that right to do whatever she wants.
REHAB: Do you forfeit your right to -- do you forfeit your right to
have your blouse or skirt removed in public by a police officer?
CARLSON: I don`t know, if...
REHAB: Because you punched them, allegedly?
CARLSON: If the police -- Not allegedly. She pled guilty to it.
REHAB: What I`m trying to say is...
CARLSON: Read the news.
REHAB: What I`m trying to tell you...
REHAB: ... is that a scarf for a Muslim woman who wears a scarf...
REHAB: ... because she believes it is religiously mandated is no
different than a blouse or a skirt. That is the standard...
CARLSON: I don`t know. I`m not sure -- I`m no expert on...
REHAB: She`s not thinking of Tucker Carlson`s standards of clothing
but her own.
CARLSON: Slow down. I`m not an expert on Islamic customs here. But it
seems to me...
REHAB: Then you shouldn`t be making a -- statements about her
clothing if you`re not an expert.
CARLSON: Is it my -- I`m merely asking you questions, to which
hopefully you can provide answers. Do -- it`s my understanding that a
woman would take her head scarf off, say, in front of her children,
where she would not -- in front of her grown children, where she
would not take her blouse off in front of her grown children. That is
right, isn`t it? That`s not exactly the same as a blouse.
REHAB: But in public, in public in front of men to whom she`s not
married, if it`s not her husband or her father or brother, no male
member of her family is present, she does not remove her scarf at all.
CARLSON: Here`s the bottom line.
REHAB: And if she tells the officer not to remove the scarf because
she has it on for religious reasons, then that officer has to respect
her civil right to dress the way she wants and to practice her
religion because she`s not...
CARLSON: You can say that all you want. I can say, "I`m carrying my
sacred handgun. And to take it away from me, you`d be violating my
religious rights." And you know what I mean? "I`m going to sue you."
OK, fine. But the cops are still going to say, look, that`s a threat
to my safety. I`m sorry. You may say that`s your religious right, but
I feel it`s a threat. OK? So you know, we have conflicting interests.
REHAB: See, that`s the difference...
CARLSON: And in a secular society the secular interest, the interest
of safety wins. I`m sorry.
REHAB: You can argue -- you can argue that a woman covering her
breasts is a religious thing to do or a secular thing to do. And
we`re not going to get into details of why a person does what they do.
If they decide -- if a woman decides to conceal a certain part of her
body, she has a right to that self-determination. You cannot take
that away from her. No police officer can take that away from her.
If we are concerned about security, then I`ll ask you this. Why not
remove her boots? Her boots are harder than her head scarf. It is a
soft clothing on her head that does not present any peril or danger to anyone.
CARLSON: I don`t know. I`m not a cop and I guess you`re not either.
That seems to be the policy developed, presumably for a good reason
over a good number of years, because there are threats that you
emanate from people`s head covering.
REHAB: That is not true. The policy is that they pat down -- they pat
down on people`s clothes. They do not remove people`s clothings. It`s
never happened before.
CARLSON: Just one closing piece of advice: as a civil rights hero, I
think this woman -- I mean, it`s hard to hold her up as an example if
she just pleaded guilty to punching the cop. It makes the case -- not
to give you unsolicited advice, but less compelling.
REHAB: That`s half the story. That`s half the story, Tucker, because
it was a plea bargain, and they dropped charges.
CARLSON: OK. I`m just saying it`s hard to make her Rosa Parks if
she`s running around hitting cops. Just my view.
REHAB: She`s not trying to make herself a Rosa Parks. She`s trying to
say, "I`m a woman, and I have a right to maintain my head scarf if I
so want it on my head.
CARLSON: All right.
REHAB: No one can remove it from me.
CARLSON: Not in America, as far as I`m concerned. But you know...
REHAB: She`s an American citizen practicing her American civil rights.
CARLSON: All right.
REHAB: She wears those. When she`s having a head scarf on her head,
she`s being and American practicing her civil rights.
CARLSON: OK. Until she punches a cop. But we`ve had this argument. We
have to stop now. Mr. Rehab, thanks for joining us. I appreciate it.