Souhair Khatib Can Sue County of Orange for Having to Remove Her Hijab: U.S. Supreme Court

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The U.S. Supreme Court today upheld an Orange County woman's right to sue the County of Orange for its jailers making her remove her hijab, or traditional Islamic headdress, in a Santa Ana courthouse holding cell in 2006.

The high court essentially rejected an appeal by the county of a March ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which found in favor of Souhair Khatib.

Khatib, who emigrated from Lebanon and later became a U.S. citizen, pleaded guilty alongside her husband in June 2006 to a misdemeanor welfare fraud, for which they 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 was then 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, in November 2006 sued the County or Orange and several officials for damages under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000, which allows prisoners to wear religious garments as long as they do not pose security risks.

Federal judges in two previous trials ruled against Khatib, noting that federal law makes an exception for inmates in prison cells. But the Ninth Circuit, and now the Supremes, agree that the woman was in a temporary holding facility, not a prison cell, and was thus protected by the federal act.

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21 comments
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ralfie
ralfie

Maybe what most of us want to say is: if she was capable of ignoring religious beliefs long enough to commit the crime of cheating Welfare, then how come she can't forget her religion long enough to remove her headscarf when we say she needs to ( in jail cell?) In other words, it pisses us off that she can claim to be SO religious that she can't show her head or neck to a non-related man, and yet that same religion apparently doesn't prevent her from coming to this country and quickly learning how to CHEAT the Welfare system enough that she was convicted of misdemeanor fraud!!! She cheated our Welfare system!!! That means she stole money from taxpayers that she wasn't supposed to get and she knew it!!!  Use your "religion" when it's convenient huh? Yeah sure, we hate it when Americans/Christians do it too... but how do religion and crime/fraud mix???

CHS
CHS

Aren't prisoners required to undergo a strip search upon being incarcerated?  I guess I'm missing how a strip search is less invasive than the removal of a hijab.

909Jeff
909Jeff

As mentioned in my post above

Julie
Julie

I love that the there is a picture of a doll in a hijab instead of a real woman.  I suppose if OC Weekly had risked using a picture of a real Muslim woman, they might have been sued for showing her face.But you shouldn't get to abuse the welfare system and they whine about minor issues like a head scarf.  It's sad that Muslim men and women are brainwashed to believe that the sight of the back of a woman's neck or her head might lead to immorality, or IS in itself immorality.

Victor
Victor

They didn't show her face so her life wouldn't be threatened by the bigots who've posted on this site.

N99
N99

Soooo...they emigrated here, became citizens, and then were convicted of a misdemeanor of abusing our welfare system...sounds to me like they should have been stripped of their citizenship and deported instead of being allowed to sue the county given that they weren't able to complete their minuscule community service hours (come on 30 hours isn't THAT time consuming!). Had they completed their punishment in the aloted time then she wouldn't have been in court asking for an extension to begin with and thus never put in a holding cell nor asked to remove her hijab which would lead to NO lawsuit against the county. GET OVER YOURSELF AND STOP LOOKING FOR A PAYOUT!

mitch young
mitch young

More immigrant crime. God we are suckers.

Mommytoalittleman
Mommytoalittleman

And she gets special treatment cause of her beliefs!! What is happening around us!! The justice system is a joke and criminals have all the control now. Disgusting!!

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

Let's make this simple; outlaw the hijab in the USA.  It's a symbol of oppression anyway. 

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

By that logic the CROSS should be outlawed, too. Many (myself included) consider THAT a symbol of oppression...

Julie
Julie

Uh huh, right, because Christians the world over are blowing each non-believers and each other up over religious disagreements.  I did a google search of "persecution by Christians" and nearly ever article was about persecution of Christians (and others) by Muslims.

FishWithoutBicycle
FishWithoutBicycle

And Christians don't try to oppress people? What about the attempt to ban gay marriage in California? What about the laws they try to pass limiting a woman's right to choose? There are all kinds of ways to marginalize and persecute people that don't require overt acts of violence. Something to think about.

Sweetchica789
Sweetchica789

How is being covered a symbol of oppression?? If Nuns cover head to toe and all you can see is their face and hands that isn't oppression? but the hijab is? Both Nuns and Muslim women cover the same and they are no different, it's a protection, we cover for God

Julie
Julie

N99 makes a good point.  Can you see the difference?

N99
N99

Covering yourself as a Nun is a choice you make when you sign up. Wearing the hijab is not a choice 99.999% of the time it's dictated to you from childhood on; where is the choice in that?!

OpSEC-USA
OpSEC-USA

That is the dumbest most fu*ked up thing that only an idiot can say. Educate yourself before you render and opinion, you just made yourself look so stupid. 

Sweetchica789
Sweetchica789

It is a duty as Muslims to cover for their God, because that's what we Muslims believe, and it is written in the Quran, You are incorrect when you say that it is dictated to us from childhood on, parents have nothing to do with it, when a girl is ready she will put on the hijab, when a women becomes of age, she has to cover herself because our looks shouldn't be everything, it makes someone like you for you not for your looks.Plus Christians and Jews have been practicing the veil.. I Corinthians 11 (3-10)"But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God. Every man praying or prophesying having his head covered, dishonoreth his head. But every woman that prayeth or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoreth her head: for that is even all one as if she were shaven. For if the woman be not covered, let her also be shorn or shaven; but if it be a hame for a woman to be shorn or shaven, let her be covered. For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels."

909Jeff
909Jeff

Ridiculous!   It wasn't the spread and squat that embarrassed her, it was the removal of her head scarf...

Stupid
Stupid

Are you frikin kidding me???  No wonder the US is so F'd up!!!!!

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