Thursday, May 17, 2018

Suit Filed By Muslim Woman Forced To Remove Hijab For Courthouse Security Inspection

A lawsuit was filed this week in an Oklahoma federal district court challenging the manner in which courthouse security guards dealt with a Muslim woman's objections to removing her hijab after she set off a metal detector.  The complaint (full text) in Elqutt v. Regalado, (ND OK, filed 5/15/2018), alleges that the objectionable conduct occurred when Shusha Elqutt entered the Tulsa County Courthouse with her attorney from the Domestic Violence Intervention Services finalize her divorce.  Wanding continued to detect metal under Elqutt's hijab.  Authorities refused to allow Elqutt to remove her head covering in private in the presence only of a female deputy.  Eventually security officials allowed Elqutt to go between two parked cars in the parking lot and have two female deputies inspect her there.  Plaintiff contends that this still violated her free exercise rights, arguing:
With only two parked cars for coverage, Ms. Elqutt was forced to crouch down to obtain even the slightest amount of privacy. At any moment, a man could have walked by and seen Ms. Elqutt without her hijab, a fact not lost on her as she squatted, exposed and humiliated, in the middle of the courthouse parking lot.
Oklahoma ACLU issued a press release announcing the filing of the lawsuit.