Sheriff: Muslim woman's head-scarf removal at Mich. jail justified

"Allowing Plantiff to retain possession of a lengthy scarf while she was in a jail holding cell presented significant security concerns for the Plaintiff, other inmates and corrections officers"


By C1 Staff

MUSKEGON, Mich. — A sheriff defended his staff in court after a woman filed a suit contending that her constitutional rights were violated when she was made to remove her head scarf when she was booked into the county jail.

Sheriff Robert Farber of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Department said that Fatme Dakroub, a U.S. citizen and practicing Muslim, was allowed to wear her own clothing and to cover her head with a hood attached to her shirt during “her very brief stay in the Oceana County Jail,” according to MLive.

Dakroub was made to remove her head scarf for a booking photo.

“Allowing Plantiff to retain possession of a lengthy scarf while she was in a jail holding cell presented significant security concerns for the Plaintiff, other inmates and corrections officers,” the summary of the sheriff’s position states.

Dakroub was arrested for allegedly speeding in a parking lot while she was in Oceana County visiting family. She stated that she was required to wear a head scarf as part of her religious duty when in public or in the presence of men who are not immediate family.

She claimed that she was required to remove her head scarf in front of three male officers, despite objections. After booking, Dakroub claimed that she was placed in a holding cell for approximately three hours without a head scarf in front of the male officers and other male inmates.

The suit alleges that the deputies’ actions violated Dakroub’s freedom of religion guaranteed by the First and 14th Amendments. It also alleges that she suffered “severe humiliation, mental anguish and emotional distress.”

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