“The lawsuit seeks an order declaring the practice of ‘forcing Muslim women to remove their hijab as a precondition to appearing in court’ unconstitutional and illegal. It asks that the judge and Wayne County not be allowed to ‘take similar unconstitutional actions’,” says a story on the CNN website.
This came about when a woman – Raneen Albaghdady, of Wayne County – said she’d sue a judge for making her take off her face covering. Some details of the case can be gleaned from the link, but the important thing here is, surely, that we in the West are in danger of allowing people to appear in court with no visual cue as to who they are.
Even if something is enshrined into law to say they can do it only if their religion forbids them to take off the garb – which would, anyway, be entirely wrong – there is surely a security issue here.
All the more reason for getting religion out of the public sphere altogether. If someone has to be identified in court, before a customs officer, in a passport photograph, whatever, then, quite simply, religion should have no say. If you and I have to show our faces in certain circumstances for purposes of ID, then so should everyone.
However, a statement from the judge and his circuit officials says he would have allowed the garb had he been told it was for the purposes of religious delusions. Or, as CNN quotes the statement:
“Judge Callahan and the court have the greatest respect for spiritual practices and all religious preferences. Had he been informed that the head covering had some religious significance, the judge would have permitted Ms Albaghdady to continue wearing it in court,” it [the statement] said.
So much for a separation of state and religion.