Justice Dept Intervenes on Behalf of Muslim Student in School Headscarf Case

April 2, 2004

Source: International Herald Tribune


On April 2, 2004 the International Herald Tribune reported, "The hallways of Benjamin Franklin Science Academy in quiet Muskogee, Oklahoma, are far from those of the tough, lower-class Paris suburbs where the battle was fought on the right of Muslim girls to wear religiously mandated head scarves...The Justice Department is intervening on the side of a sixth-grade Muslim girl, Nashala Hearn, who has been banned from wearing a head scarf to her Muskogee school. That is exactly the opposite approach taken, quite controversially, by the French government. The French ban on wearing religious garb to schools, the Bush administration said earlier this year, violated 'a basic right that should be protected'...To Hayes and the Muskogee school district, Hearn's scarf clearly violated a system-wide ban on the wearing of hats, caps, bandannas or jacket hoods. To the Justice Department, however, Muskogee was infringing on Hearn's constitutional right to practice her religion freely."