Muslim Woman Sues Dearborn Over Forced Hijab Removal

A Muslim woman from Dearborn is suing the city and the police department for forcing her to remove her hijab (headscarf) while being arrested and booked for failing to pay a parking ticket. This is not the first such lawsuit filed against either Dearborn or Dearborn Heights.

A woman who was arrested over an unpaid parking ticket last has filed a federal lawsuit against Dearborn and its police department, claiming she was forced to remove a religious headscarf during booking.

Maha Aldhalimi was stopped by a police officer for parking in a no parking zone outside a Walmart on Sept. 15, 2014, and was arrested when a warrant related to a past unpaid ticket was discovered, according to court documents.

The woman was taken to Dearborn police headquarters, where she was told to remove her headscarf for a booking photo, according to the lawsuit filed Tuesday.

Aldhalimi and her son, who had driven to the police station to meet his mother, both told police she wore the scarf for religious reasons, the complaint alleges, but officers threatened removing it against her will if she refused.

She removed the scarf while “shivering and crying from the humiliation and distress of the encounter,” the lawsuit alleges, claiming police violated constitution rights to equal protection and freedom of religion.

What interests me about this is not the religious freedom issue. Frankly, I have mixed and contradictory feelings about that. What I want to point is how this quite clearly disproves the claims by Tony Perkins and many others that Dearborn is a city totally controlled by Muslims, so much so that it’s an alleged “no-go zone” for non-Muslims, which must come as quite a surprise to the 60% of the city’s population that isn’t Muslim. Somehow they manage not only to go, but to live, in this “no-go zone.”

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  • John Pieret

    What interests me about this is not the religious freedom issue

    But it is tricky none the less. Clearly, if she was wearing a burka that covered her face, that would frustrate the purpose of a booking photo. It’s less clear with a headscarf. Nor is it clear that threatening forcible removal proper. Just tell her she can sit in the booking cell, without right to bail, until she decides to take it off for the photo.

    As to the no go zone, police can’t even go into Dearborn without the threat of being SUED!

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    parking in a no parking zone outside a Walmart

    So Muslins can integrate!

  • D. C. Sessions

    Modus scores again, although not his best performance.

    And yes, that’s a straight line for one of his favorite sexual responses.

    As for the scarf, “modesty” is very much a cultural thing. Some cultures have no hangups with total nudity but I rather doubt that any police department in the USA will get away with routine [1] nude booking shots, despite the obvious advantages [2] to both security and prisoner identification.

    So, now we’re just dickering over price.

    [1] Stripping and abusing the prisoners on an informal basis is another matter, of course.

    [2] Yes, snark. See TSA for context.

  • Trebuchet

    Wingnut reporting the story as a Christian being forced to wear a hijab for booking in 3…2…1…

  • tbp1

    What I want to point is how this quite clearly disproves the claims by Tony Perkins and many others that Dearborn is a city totally controlled by Muslims, so much so that it’s an alleged “no-go zone” for non-Muslims,

    Not that that will stop them from continuing to make the claim, of course.

  • http://www.facebook.com/using.reason usingreason

    Another complete waste of police resources that creates this problem. Arrested for unpaid parking ticket? Impound the car or boot it and walk away until she pays. The amount of police resources wasted on petty shit like this is ridiculous.

  • marcus

    Questions of religious liberty versus the need for a proper booking photo aside, WTF were they doing arresting and booking someone for an unpaid fucking parking ticket? There are many non-arrest methods for taking care of issues like this,

    a stern warning to take care of the ticket or an additional ‘fix-it ticket for example or “booting” her car.

    In California you are not allowed to re-register your car or renew your driver’s license until you have taken care of what is obviously a ‘civil’ offense. These methods are much more cost-effective and reasonable, IMO.

    I call discriminatory policing and enforcement.

  • jd142

    I’m not saying it is right, but there is a good argument to be made that there is a compelling state interest in a booking photo showing a person’s complete face and head. A booking photo (is it the same as a mugshot?) is different from something like a driver’s license photo. What laypeople think of as mugshots show a side view, which a hijab would definitely hinder.

    But at the same time, you only need the person’s face and do you really need to book someone for an unpaid parking ticket? And what’s the deal with arrest warrants for one outstanding ticket? Must have been one heck of a ticket.

    This one is tricky. If the religious prohibition was against getting her picture taken period, or having her fingerprints taken, then I bet it is pretty settled that she wouldn’t get the religious exemption. Do they let people like my grandmother keep their headscarves on? Just a standard mid-western headscarf.

  • https://www.facebook.com/kcobb47 Ken

    <block quote cite="What I want to point is how this quite clearly disproves the claims by Tony Perkins and many others that Dearborn is a city totally controlled by Muslims, so much so that it’s an alleged “no-go zone” for non-Muslims, which must come as quite a surprise to the 60% of the city’s population that isn’t Muslim. Somehow they manage not only to go, but to live, in this “no-go zone.”"

    I live in Dearborn and I'm not Muslim. I can't beleive how many people think I live in a terrorist stronghold, and I'm talking about people who live a city or two over. There is absolutely no indication that this is a "no go zone". In fact, it's pretty damn boring.

  • dingojack

    MO (#2) – yes, but their skills in differentiation are still quite rudimentary*.

    😉 Dingo

    ———

    * and don’t get me started on their grasp of probability…

  • illdoittomorrow

    jd142 @8:

    As long as a hijab-wearing woman’s scarf is pulled back just enough to show the entire face in profile*, I don’t see what the problem would be with keeping it on. Taking it off doesn’t show one’s head, it shows one’s current hairstyle, which is just another head covering- one that’s trivially easy to change completely anyway.

    *The women I’ve seen who wear hijabs usually wear them snug enough so it covers the ears and neck, so I don’t know if pulling it back is problematic- it might be. The above comment is hypothetical.

  • illdoittomorrow

    Also seconding those who said WTF to arresting someone for a fuckin’ parking ticket. That’s what notices in the mail and boots are for.

  • Crimson Clupeidae

    Ed, I can’t find your contact details here, so I won’t spam you with this, but I would like if you would share this story about the government taking over native american lands and handing it over to mining companies.

    http://www.tucsonweekly.com/tucson/repeal-the-deal/Content?oid=5389209

    Thanks.

  • Pierce R. Butler

    For all those suggesting the cops should have just booted her car:

    Maha Aldhalimi was stopped by a police officer for parking in a no parking zone …

    Unless they declared that space “no parking” just for giggles, leaving an immobilized vehicle there would have blocked whatever purpose they had in mind for that zone, and possibly impeded emergency vehicles or other significant functions in the public interest.

    Otherwise I agree, arresting her went far beyond any legitimate procedure.

  • Die Anyway

    I don’t know about Dearborn but around here businesses with parking lots (like a Walmart) are in cahoots with towing companies. Park ‘illegally’ and they tow your car for a fee of $250 and $50 a day for storage (or some similar amount). The towing company makes a shit ton of money and the business rakes off a percentage. The police are not involved unless the towee happens to come back in time to see their car being towed in which case they whip out their concealed weapon and pop off a few rounds at the truck driver. That usually brings the police.

  • A Masked Avenger

    Otherwise I agree, arresting her went far beyond any legitimate procedure.

    I don’t know the specifics of this case, but in every state you can be arrested for such things. If you fail to appear in court, or fail to pay the resulting fine, a bench warrant is routinely issued. What happens next varies by jurisdiction. In my jurisdiction, you are sought out and arrested. In others, you will be arrested if a cop in an encounter, like a traffic stop, realizes that you have warrants.

    If you resist arrest, by the way, you will be taken by force. If you increase your resistance, more force will be used. Eventually you will either submit, or you will have escalated to the point that deadly force will be used. YES, you can be shot dead for resisting arrest on a bench warrant for spitting on the sidewalk.

    Disclaimer: I’ve arrested plenty of people for failure to appear or failure to pay.

    I’ve tried to be a good guy, given breaks that were technically illegal, and never pointed a gun at a defendant. But it chaps my ass that people should be so ignorant as to think that the law works according to their personal idea of “common sense. ” It prompts people to resist arrest, thinking right is on their side. And it prompts them to say, “there ought to be a law, ” blithely ignorant that where there’s a law, however minor, there’s a small but real percentage of people who will be shot dead over it. Protesting that your “common sense” dictates otherwise is a mere confession of ignorance and naivete.

    Sorry for the rant.

  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    illdoittomorrow “Also seconding those who said WTF to arresting someone for a fuckin’ parking ticket. That’s what notices in the mail and boots are for.”

    Totally ineffective. They sent me a boot in the mail and I didn’t even put it on my car.

  • inquisitiveraven

    I don’t know the specifics of this case, but in every state you can be arrested for such things. If you fail to appear in court, or fail to pay the resulting fine, a bench warrant is routinely issued. What happens next varies by jurisdiction. In my jurisdiction, you are sought out and arrested. In others, you will be arrested if a cop in an encounter, like a traffic stop, realizes that you have warrants.

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I remember this stuff being covered in my high school driver’s ed, in the 1970s.

  • qwints

    D. C. Sessions @3

    I rather doubt that any police department in the USA will get away with routine nude booking shots

    Maybe not photos, but universal routine strip searches upon booking in a jail are allowed. Florence v. County of Burlington, 132 S. Ct. 1510 (2012). Since the lawsuit seems to seek to ban the police practice of ” forcing Muslim woman to remove their hijabs while being processed into police custody” (p.17) entirely, the fact of the photo probably is not a key difference between your hypothetical and this case.