CAIR pushes ‘hijab friendly’ policy in American prisons

Font Size:

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is working to make American prisons more “hijab-friendly,” according to a report from Al Arabiya.

“I’m working on several pending cases in different states… and I’m in touch with an attorney for the Department of Justice’s Office of Civil Rights,” Nadhira al-Khalili, legal counsel for CAIR, told the Saudi-owned news outlet.

The goal for CAIR is to make the hijab a permissible, official staple of Muslim women’s attire, including for photos, in prisons nationwide.

Al Arabiya reports that Novi, Mich. has already agreed to allow Muslim women to cover their heads during detainment. Police in the Detroit suburb of 47,000 maintain 10 holding cells for arrestees, a representative of the Novi Police Department told The Daily Caller, but the town does not have a full jail or prison.

“There are other accommodations in other localities in Michigan for Muslim females to keep their hijab during detainment. However, Novi is the first locality in Michigan that has made it an official policy,” executive director of CAIR Michigan Dawud Walid said to the news outlet.

Walid noted that the hijab is already allowed in other official capacities in American life.

“If hijab is allowed in the military, and U.S. driving licenses permit women IDs with hijab, then the same logic can be applied,” Walid told Al Arabiya. “Hijab doesn’t impede the identity of women.”

Still, there will be obstacles to getting every jail and prison in the country to adopt head-scarf policies.

“The courts generally don’t want to intervene in the professional judgment of a sheriff. Some courts have ruled that when security is a concern, safety should override a religious practice. Other courts have ruled in favor of Muslim women who want to wear hijab,” Khalili added to Al Arabiya.

Follow Caroline on Twitter