Muslim Sues O.C. Over Right to Wear Head Scarf

September 5, 2007

Author: Genaro Molina

Source: Los Angeles Times,0,7687235.story?coll=la-home-center

A Muslim whose religious practice requires that she cover her head in public sued the Orange County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday, alleging her rights were violated when jail officials forced her to remove a head scarf while locked up for about eight hours.

Souhair Khatib filed suit in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, alleging that her right to practice her religion had been violated, causing her "extreme mental and emotional distress." Named in the complaint, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California, were Sheriff Michael S. Carona, the captain in charge of courtroom deputies and Orange County.

Khatib, 32, of Anaheim, said she filed the lawsuit to make other Muslim women in the U.S. aware of their right to religious freedom. Many Islamic women cover their heads and necks with scarves, known as hijabs, while in public as mandated by the Koran.