Friday, June 5, 2009


Jailed for Wearing Hijab: Southern Fried Islamophobia (and Anti-Semitism) December 18, 2008

One judge in Douglasville, Georgia just set his state back a few decades.

A Muslim woman, Lisa Valentine, was recently sentenced to ten days in jail for contempt of court — with her sole offense being that she would not remove her hijab while in the courtroom:

A Muslim woman arrested for refusing to take off her head scarf at a courthouse security checkpoint said Wednesday that she felt her human and civil rights were violated.

A judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court, said police in Douglasville, a city of about 20,000 people on Atlanta’s west suburban outskirts.

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 (sic). “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.

A yarmulke? Illegal. Hijab? Illegal (and All-h have mercy on the niqabi woman who even thinks about coming before the bench). And by extension — a Sikh man’s turban? Illegal. A Catholic cardinal’s cap? Illegal. Even the Pope would have to take his cap off before the authority that is the Great and Exalted Georgia Court System. [/sarcasm]

Notwithstanding the fact that Ms. Valentine was freed in one day — still. Clearly this policy is blatantly anti-religious. Clearly this policy should dissolve under the same acid test of constitutionality as its ignorant legislative predecessors barring miscegenation or universal suffrage did. Clearly this is an asinine policy.

Ms. Valentine — granted — was not arrested until after she turned and uttered an expletive to a uniformed security officer, which is in its own right — depending on the demeanor of the expletive and the officer — prosecutable. But the fact that she was even stopped is an affront to everything that our American courts stand for: the defense of our American Constitution, inclusive of freedoms of press, speech…and religion.

Given that enforcement of such an unconsitutional, blatantly prejudicial statute is, sof kol sof left to individual judges’ discretion, it would seem that the chamor in the situation is Municipal Judge Keith Rollins. He had a Muslimah removed from his courtroom for hijab observance in 2007 and as recently as last week, when a Muslimah meekly lipped to a bailiff that she could not remove her hijab for religious reasons.

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