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Muslim Woman Sues After Being Forced To Remove Head Scarf After Arrest

DEARBORN HEIGHTS (WWJ/AP) - A 27-year-old woman is challenging a metro Detroit police department's policy that she says forced her to remove her traditional Muslim head scarf while in custody.

Malak Kazan's lawsuit was filed against the city of Dearborn Heights Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Detroit. She says she was forced to remove the head scarf, known as a hijab, during booking and while in custody after being arrested last year in Dearborn Heights for driving with a suspended license.

As part of Muslim beliefs, the hijab — which, unlike the niqab or burka, covers the hair and neck but not the face — must be worn when in the presence of any males who are not family members.

She reportedly asked for a female police officer, but was told that one was not available.

Kazan's attorney, Amir Makled, contends that ordering his client to remove it is "deeply humiliating" and  violates her faith as well as her civil rights.

The lawsuit seeks to change the policy and Kazan wants officers to undergo sensitivity and diversity training.

"The issue for the court may very well be whether religious rights trump those of public safety," said WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton. "And the court could view a school or dress code policy differently then a photo taken in a criminal matter — and that's kind of the way I think this is going."

The Dearborn Heights mayor's office said officials wouldn't comment Wednesday.

A court date has not yet been set.

TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2015 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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