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Lawsuit Claims Detroit Muslim Woman Was Forced to Remove Hijab for Booking Photo

As of early October 2020, a Detroit woman has sued the city of Detroit, Michigan, and the Michigan Department of Corrections after staff at the Detroit Detention Center made her remove her hijab for a booking photo.

The alleged incident happened in 2018 when Zainab Chaaban was arrested and booked into the Detroit Detention Center. When it came time to take her booking photo, Chaaban was asked to remove her headscarf.

According to the Muslim faith, women who wear hijab do so to cover their hair from men not in their immediate family. Had there only been other women in the room, Chaaban could have removed her headscarf without violating her religious beliefs, but at the time, two men were present.

Chaaban stated she would not remove the hijab for religious reasons and, according to Fox 2 Detroit and Chaaban’s attorney Amy Doukoure, she “adamantly protested for a couple of hours that she was not going to remove her headscarf and she was threatened with disciplinary procedures.” Chaaban did eventually take off the hijab.

Chaaban faced domestic-related charges that she was eventually found not guilty of.

The City of Detroit is attempting to be dismissed from the lawsuit, with an official statement saying, “Neither the City of Detroit nor the Detroit Police Department take photographs of people entering the Detroit Detention Center. The City does not belong in this lawsuit and we will seek to be dismissed from it.”

MDOC states that their official policy requires all head coverings to be removed for photos.

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