[UPDATED] Souhair Khatib, Who Had Her Hijab Removed in OC Jail, Wins Appeal, Can Sue County

Categories: Breaking News
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UPDATE, MARCH 16, 9:59 A.M.: Here is a link to the actual Ninth Circuit appeals court decision:

Khatib v. County of Orange

UPDATE, MARCH 15, 4:24 P.M.: A Muslim woman who claims her constitutional rights were violated when Orange County sheriff's deputies forced her to remove her headscarf while she was being held in a courthouse holding facility can sue the county, an appeals court ruled today.

The full 11-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit in Pasadena found that U.S. District Judge David O. Carter improperly dismissed Souhair Khatib's lawsuit, which alleged violations of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), a federal law designed to protect prisoners' religious freedom.

Courthouse News Service's Tim Hull has the scoop.

Khatib, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Lebanon, and her husband pleaded guilty in June 2006 to a misdemeanor welfare crime and were ordered to perform 30 hours of community service each while on probation. When the couple went to court to ask for an extension of the community-service deadline, a judge revoked their probation and put them in holding cells, where deputies, citing security concerns, ordered Khatib to remove her headscarf, which is known as a hijab. She broke down and cried.

She was later dragged back before the judge without her hijab. The judge then extended the deadline and restored her probation. Khatib, noting her religion forbids her from exposing her head or neck to men outside her immediate family, sued Orange County and several officials for damages under RLUIPA.

Carter, who is based in Santa Ana, ruled in 2008 that Khatib's allegations were sufficient to establish the elements of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress under the Free Exercise Clause. However, the judge also ruled she lacked standing to seek equitable relief because she could not show a real and immediate danger that she would be compelled to remove the hijab again. And the judge dismissed Khatib's claim under RLUIPA on the grounds the cell was not an "institution" as written by Congress.

A three-judge panel split in Carter's favor last May, but the lone dissenter, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, then stated in a brief order that he would take the matter to the full panel, leading to today's decision in Khatib's favor.

Judge M. Margaret McKeown, author of the court's lead opinion, stated the Santa Ana courthouse is an "institution" and a "jail" as defined in the federal act, and therefore Khatib's request for religious accommodation should have been honored. "The county argues that RLUIPA only affords protection to inmates at long-term facilities with residential capabilities," McKeown wrote. "This interpretation reads into the statute an additional qualification where none exists. The act does not include any temporal restriction on the term 'institution.' Nor should we import such a requirement, especially in light of the generous interpretative rule set forth by Congress."

"A Muslim woman who must appear before strange men she doesn't know, with her hair and neck uncovered in a violation of her religious beliefs, may feel shame and distress," Judge Ronald Gould wrote in his concurring opinion. "This is precisely the kind of 'mischief' RLUIPA was intended to remedy. A recognition of this very real harm helps inform our judgment on the scope of covered institutions. Under long-observed canons of statutory construction, and under the terms of RLUIPA itself, it is proper to construe the statute broadly to give effect to the religious protection intended by Congress."

The judges added that "other courthouse or detention facilities have unique characteristics that warrant individualized review."


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20 comments
RON BURGUNDY
RON BURGUNDY

first mosques, then islamic schools, than halal restaurants, then full out veils, scarves, praying at work, praying at sports stadiums, back and forth travel from the US and 'axis of evil' countries and now suing for having your scarf taken off....yeah, Muslims are taking over.

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

5 years and still no community service completed? Only 30 days... daymmm

Bammystrikesagain
Bammystrikesagain

http://www.mercurynews.com/bre...

Feds sue Calif. over Sikh inmate beard punishment The Associated Press Posted: 03/15/2011 09:09:49 PM PDT

SAN FRANCISCO—The Justice Department filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the state of California alleging that a Sikh inmate who refused to trim his beard for religious reasons was unfairly disciplined. Sukhjinder (sook-JIN'-der) Basra has said that guards told him he violated a rule prohibiting inmates from growing facial hair longer than a half inch. As punishment, Basra said he was ordered to perform extra prison duties and spend 10 days confined to his bunk. He said he also lost 30 days of credit for good behavior.

Sikhs are required by their religion to wear unshorn hair wrapped in a turban and a beard.

The Justice Department's lawsuit, which names Gov. Jerry Brown and the state corrections department, follows the department's recent investigation, which found that Basra wasn't allowed to practice his religion in prison. The federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act protects the religious freedom of people in mental health facilities, state-run nursing homes and prisons.

Basra is serving time at the California Men's Colony in San Luis Obispo for a drug offense.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California filed a lawsuit on behalf of Basra against the corrections department on similar grounds last month.

HeyThere82
HeyThere82

Such strongly prejudiced statements...

This article lacks MANY details that could counter most negative comments and arguments.

“Many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices.” ~William James

“Prejudice is a great time saver. You can form opinions without having to get the facts.” ~E.B. White

Chris
Chris

She pleaded guilty to a welfare crime (fraud?), was convicted in June 2006, put on probation, and told to perform 30 hours of community service. Two years later, she still hadn't done her service time. She has no respect for the court or our country. No one "dragged" her in front of the judge. If she's so religious, why did she commit a crime? Apparently, she isn't devout unless it's convenient. She should do jail time, repay whatever welfare crime expenses she received AND pay all court expenses. Speaking of parasites, she could have an infestation of headlice contaminating the holding cells and spread to deputies, inmates, and others.

Goback2pakistan
Goback2pakistan

if they don't want to take off their jihabs to be searched, just blast'em with X-RAYS for a few minutes.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Yeah Coker,

Way to be a muslim apologist. We have a thing called a constitution Coker...

A search incidental to an arrest does not violate the Fourth Amendment, if the arresting officer has probable cause.

They were ordered into custody and should be treated as anyone else would have been. Being compelled to comply with the laws of the land does not violate their right to practice thier religion... Based on your logic we should allow the FLDS to have several wives and marry 14 year old girls.

Who would of thought France would be tougher than us at something?

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zqxz

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Brenda
Brenda

if i was under arrest and i was wearing a scarf or whatever on my head or face...i would have to remove it..why shouldn't she. She is America now not the Far East. She needs to get accustomed to our law and ..not the other way around.WE HAVE SO MANY JUDGES IN THIS COUNTRY THAT NEED TO BE REMOVED FROM THE BENCH!when will this rediculous bullshit ever end?We need to close our borders NOW

Mitchell
Mitchell

A yes, the benefits of immigration -- welfare crime and then gettting sued for prosecuting it. Are these people citizens yet -- if not, why aren't they being deported?

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Interesting, was it medical Marijuana he was serving time for?

Bill t.
Bill t.

Great quotes, directly to the point.

Bill T.
Bill T.

Nothing in any of the articles I have read or heard indicate that the removal of her hijab was incidental to search, which would have been performed by female officers with no males present. The distress is analogous to that if a christian woman being required to remove her blouse in public. Yah, I think it's silly too, but that is the case, your upbringing makes a difference.

CHS
CHS

I'll grant you that some U.S. judges should be removed from the bench but Judge Carter isn't one of them. Remember, folks, he's the one who put the screws to Orly Taitz last year. BTW, what "security concerns" are addressed by forcing an inmate to remove his/her hat/scarve/hijab/etc.? How about just having inmates remove all of their garments?

mrtinez666
mrtinez666

Yes yes. And rip the yarmulke from Jews heads and habit off of nuns while we're at it. Those fucking ancient and ignorant religions need to be eradicated. Deport all religious people back where they came from.

You're a nitwit.

909Jeff
909Jeff

Bill,

The difference between exposing ones head and neck and exposing bare breasts are light years apart. I'm sorry if our LAWS conflict with their religion. Accomodations need to be made on both sides.

You also did not read the article above very well otherwise you would have seen this.

"When the couple went to court to ask for an extension of the community-service deadline, a judge revoked their probation and put them in holding cells, where deputies, citing security concerns, ordered Khatib to remove her headscarf, which is known as a hijab"

They were in violation of their probation, which by the way being on probation alone gives authorities "Implied consent" to search you at anytime. They were taken into custody which means the officers must verify that she has no form of weapon or device that could cause harm to herself or others. Chances are that she didnt have anything but officers are not allowed to make these assumptions. And when it comes to a simple search a same sex officer is not required. A same sex officer is only required when they have to do the "squat and cough" and the "Bend over and spread em'!"

A very simple way to keep your percieved religious rights from being violated... Dont be a criminal. Anyone ever think about that?

And I also am curious as to where all the "Seperation of Church and State" Loons are? If a Christian were crying foul you all of you would be saying the court shouldnt have to respect their religion because to the seperation of Church and State!

Dweezle.Di
Dweezle.Di

Actually I doubt Brenda is a person at all, this is aparantly her first post, click on her Avtar, then click on her ID it redirects you to an "Ameriplan" site... read this link:http://www.alternet.org/media/...

909Jeff
909Jeff

Nice Name,

Yes if a Jew goes to jail they should remove the Yarmulke ( I'm suprised you spelled it right)... The Nun her habit etc etc etc... There is a universal dress code in jail its an orange jumpsuit. Did and of the kiddy diddlers from the OC Diocese get to keep their white collars... Let me answer that for you, NO!

Bill t.
Bill t.

So where in your quote does it indicate that the removal of the hajib was in the process of a search? You apparently didn't read either the article or my comment very well. It doesn't matter whether you believe removing a hijab is equivalent to bearing your breast, that is how it is perceived in their society. If you don't like your right to worship in the manner you choose then there are plenty of places you could go where this is not the case. Preservation of their rights is preservation of your rights.

Mitchell
Mitchell

Usually the yarmulk is held to the hair by bobby pins, and they can fashioned into a homemade knife....or ...shiv.

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