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CAIR-MI files federal lawsuit after Muslim woman forced to remove hijab for booking photo

CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Jan. 3, 2024
CBS News Detroit Digital Brief for Jan. 3, 2024 04:00

CANTON, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - The Michigan chapter of Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI) announced Wednesday it filed a federal lawsuit against Kent County, Kent County Sheriff's Office, and the Kent County Sheriff, Michelle LaJoye-Young.

CAIR-MI, a local chapter of the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization said the lawsuit is over the forcible removal of a Muslim woman's hijab in 2023 when she was arrested and detained in the Kent County Jail.

Jannah Hague was arrested and taken to jail where she was told to remove her hijab for a booking photo that was published on the Kent County Sheriff's Office public website, CAIR-MI said. 

She was later released from the Kent County Jail without charge, according to a press release. 

CAIR-MI said it issued a notice of claim after the arrest to the Kent County Sheriff's Office to inform them of the civil rights violation by Hague and requested compensation. 

The chapter said it tried to resolve the issue with the sheriff's office by attending meetings and sending correspondence but nothing worked. 

Hague's booking photo without her hijab remains on law enforcement databases where it was uploaded by Kent County, creating a permanent public record, CAIR-MI said. 

"The filing of today's federal lawsuit on behalf of Ms. Hague is an attempt to protect her from further harm should her image be once again publicly released," CAIR-MI Staff Attorney, Amy V. Doukoure said. "We are going to hold Kent County responsible to the fullest extent possible for not only their violation of Ms. Hague's rights but their continued disregard for the harm that it caused her when her photo was released, as well as for their insistence on a policy that so clearly threatens to violate the rights of any religiously-observant woman that the Sheriff's Office may encounter and detain."   

According to the press release, CAIR's mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims. 

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