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C CAIR-FL In The News

A Muslim woman says her headscarf was forcibly removed from her head for a booking photo after being arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest

By By Alaa Elassar, For CNN, On 26 June 2020, Read Original
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(CNN) An 18-year-old Muslim woman arrested at a Black Lives Matter protest in Miami says her hijab was forcibly removed from her head for a booking photograph and she was not allowed to put it back on for several hours.

Alaa Massri was arrested at a protest June 10, according to the Miami Police Department, and charged with battery, resisting an officer with violence and disorderly conduct. After her arrest, Massri was taken to the Miami-Dade Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center, where she says she was asked to remove her hijab for a booking photograph, her lawyer Khurrum Wahid told CNN.
Muslim women who choose to wear the headscarf do not take it off in front of men outside of their immediate families.
After advising the officers that the hijab is a part of her religious beliefs and she did not wish to be photographed without it on, it was forcibly removed from her head, Wahid said. She was not allowed to put her hijab back on for what she estimated to be around seven hours.
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Forcibly removing the hijab from her head was a "complete disregard" of a central part of her faith and could also be a legal violation, said Omar Saleh, a lawyer for the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which has not been asked to assist in Massri's case.
"The arrest which results in the removal of a hijab during booking and prolonged removal of the hijab is a legal issue and severe violation, not just of the 1st and 14th Amendment, but also the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act," Saleh told CNN. "Forcing a woman to remove her hijab causes humiliation, mental anguish, and distress."