Thursday, October 6, 2011

In Her Own Words, To Cover in Court

"An Expression of Faith" - a short essay in the ACLU's blog, attached to their website, written from the point of view of that headscarf wearing woman who tried to enter a public courtroom, back in 2008, in Douglasville, Georgia, USA.  I have read numerous articles about and referencing this situation, and found it nice to read the woman's own words.  Her situation was one of those "shots heard round the world" regarding those head coverings, faith, women's rights, modesty, and proper court behaviour in the United States.  Because of the denial to her to enter the courtroom with a head scarf, and her subsequent arrest and detainment in jail, much attention was brought towards Islam and toward this lowly headscarf, though both are still much misunderstood because of the various understandings and practices of the wide variety of people who follow this faith and tradition.  As a result:
In July 2009, the Georgia Supreme Court Commission adopted a policy drafted by the ACLU regarding the treatment of religious head covering. Additionally, a civil lawsuit was filed against the city and the police officers that were involved in my arrest. We recently settled this lawsuit out of court and the city has adopted a head covering screening policy which in part states that head coverings for religious or medical reasons may be allowed in courtrooms, and if a security search is deemed required, the individual wearing the head covering may have the inspection performed in a private place by a same-sex officer.
We've come a good way in the US and in many other places, explaining the reasons for these head coverings, and correcting misunderstandings and prejudicial behaviour.  But we still have far to go, as head covering women and those who love them, for there are still many misunderstandings, prejudgements and misgivings - on both sides of the cover/uncover fence.  If practicing Muslim women are kept from dressing in a way that their faith proclaims as modest and respectful, then so also will modest, traditional Jews, Christians and other women who choose to cover up in modesty or from respect or devotion be ridiculed, misunderstood, and maybe even mistreated or "disrobed" (to use the term used in the above linked article). Please keep studying, sharing and encouraging.  We who wear those headcoverings will certainly appreciate it.

See also http://times-georgian.com/bookmark/15935582-City-settles-suit-and-adopts-new-policy-over-religious-headgear  for news on this story.

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