The Council on American-Islamic Relations, Michigan chapter (CAIR-MI) filed a lawsuit Monday against the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC) for making Muslim and Moorish Science women remove their hijabs for mugshots.
Photographs of the women without their hijabs are posted on MDOC’s public website. DOC ID cards also display the mugshots. The “Muslim and Moorish Science women who observe the hijab must wear it at all times while in public or in the presence of men to whom they are not closely related.”
The plaintiffs allege violations of the First Amendment, Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Michigan Constitution. It is argued that there is no legitimate government interest in publishing these photographs against the women’s religious interests.
CAIR-MI states that it has been receiving complaints about this since 2017 and that the warden, as well as multiple administrators it contacted, did not respond to its requests to open a dialogue.
CAIR-MI’s executive director stated, “It is unfortunate and ironic that MDOC, which holds Americans in its custody for legal violations, is not following the law when it comes to reasonably accommodating the religious rights of Muslims.”
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