by: Dionne Walker
18 December 2008
Lisa Valentine was arrested Tuesday for contempt of court for refusing to take off her head scarf. (Photo: AP / John Amis)
Valentine violated a court policy that prohibits people from wearing any headgear in court, police said after they arrested her Tuesday.
Kelley Jackson, a spokeswoman for Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker, said state law doesn't permit or prohibit head scarfs.
"It's at the discretion of the judge and the sheriffs and is up to the security officers in the court house to enforce their decision," she said.
Valentine, who recently moved to
"I just felt stripped of my civil, my human rights," she said Wednesday from her home. She said she was unexpectedly released after the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations urged federal authorities to investigate the incident as well as others in
The group cited a report that the same judge removed a woman and her 14-year-old daughter from the courtroom last week because they were wearing Muslim head scarves.
Jail officials declined to say why she was freed and municipal Court Judge Keith Rollins said that "it would not be appropriate" for him to comment on the case.
Last year, a judge in
Valentine's husband, Omar Hall, said his wife was accompanying her nephew to a traffic citation hearing when officials stopped her at the metal detector and told her she would not be allowed in the courtroom with the head scarf, known as a hijab.
Hall said Valentine, an insurance underwriter, told the bailiff that she had been in courtrooms before with the scarf on and that removing it would be a religious violation. When she turned to leave and uttered an expletive, Hall said a bailiff handcuffed her and took her before the judge.
Associated Press writer Kate Brumback in
Imagine the national outrage
Fri, 12/19/2008 - 01:48 — jimbier (not verified)
Imagine the national outrage if this had been a white Roman Catholic nun in her habit!
While a scarf can indeed be
Fri, 12/19/2008 - 01:39 — dtroutma (not verified)
While a scarf can indeed be used to conceal a weapon, metal detectors or wands are there. I wonder how many rabbis or devout Jews, have been refused, or if the good judge would arrest the Pope for his "head covering". At the same time, issuing expletives isn't the brightest thing an "afflicted and abused" person should do to cement positive relations with the court.
Good God, this is
Fri, 12/19/2008 - 01:26 — Anonymous (not verified)
Good God, this is ridiculous. What, did they think she had a bomb on her head? I don't think so. They were just being jerks. I can't believe they can make the charges stick.
Dec. 16, 2008
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate a series of incidents in which Muslim women in
In the most recent incident, a Muslim woman was jailed today following a dispute over whether she could enter the courtroom while wearing her hijab.
According to the woman's husband, she was seeking to enter the courtroom in
Members of the local Islamic community told CAIR that there have been at least two previous incidents involving Muslims being prevented from wearing religious attire in court.
One local Muslim woman reported to CAIR that she and her 14-year-old daughter were barred from the same judge's courtroom last week because they were wearing Islamic scarves.
"We ask the Department of Justice to investigate these troubling incidents to determine whether the women's civil or religious rights were violated," said CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper. "Judges have the right to set standards of dress and behaviour in their courtrooms, but those standards should not violate the constitutional right to free exercise of religion or block unencumbered access to our nation's legal system."
Last year, CAIR representatives met with city and court officials in
In a letter sent to the
CONTACT: CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Amina Rubin, 202-488-8787, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations