Judge’s Ruling Allows Religious Head Coverings in Courtroom After Hijab Dispute

March 18, 2006

Source: The News Tribune


On March 18, 2006 The News Tribune reported, "Tacoma Municipal Court judges have clarified rules on appropriate attire in their courtrooms two months after one of them kicked a Muslim woman out of court because she declined to remove her traditional head scarf. A ruling by Presiding Judge Jack Emery means hijabs, yarmlukes and other religious head coverings are [okay] even though hats generally are not allowed in municipal courts... In January, Municipal Court Judge David Ladenburg drew criticism for ordering Puyallup resident Mujaahadid Sayfullah out of his courtroom because she wouldn’t take off her hijab. Many judges prohibit the wearing of hats or other head coverings in their courtrooms, a regulation that springs from a traditional show of respect for the authority of the court. Sayfullah complained, saying Ladenburg had violated her religious freedoms. The national Council on American-Islamic Relations took up her cause and sent a letter to the court asking it to reconsider its policy. Ladenburg later apologized, and the municipal court judges agreed to review their rules."