Thursday, January 24, 2019

Suit Over Forced Removal of Hijab To Enter Courthouse Is Dismissed

In Elqutt v. Regalado, (ND OK, Jan. 22, 2019), an Oklahoma federal district court dismissed without prejudice a suit by a Muslim woman who was required to remove her hijab to gain entry to the Tulsa County Courthouse. After setting off metal detectors, sheriff's deputies insisted that Suha Elqutt remove her hijab in front of male deputies. After extensive discussions, she was permitted to remove it in a nearby parking lot while crouching between parked cars with only female deputies present, though she claims men could have walked past her as well.   Dismissing her claim for damages for violation of her free exercise rights, the court held that defendants had qualified immunity because they would not have been put on notice by clearly established law that they were violating her constitutional rights. The court also denied her an injunction because she had not alleged a likelihood that she would return to the courthouse and face similar future actions.  Tulsa World reports on the decision.