Muslim woman claims she was forced to remove hijab in prison, Genesee County MPs sue

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FLINT, MI – A lawsuit filed against Genesee County and two MPs allege a Muslim woman was forced to remove her hijab in prison.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court, Eastern District, by Royal Oak-based Rasor law firm on behalf of Cora Cave of Detroit.

Cave was arrested in her vehicle in December 2018 by Michigan State Police while in Genesee County. She was arrested on an arrest warrant and transported to Genesee County Jail, wearing a hijab, a Muslim head covering all the time.

The lawsuit seeking damages in excess of $ 75,000 says that, for Cave, “a headscarf cannot be removed in public places and in accordance with her sincere religious beliefs as a devout Muslim, men cannot see more. than his face, his hands and his feet. . “

It is alleged in the lawsuit that two deputies from the prison reservation area asked Cave to remove the hijab.

Cave told MPs that she cannot remove the hijab in public places, especially when it means she will be seen by men. She was forced to remove the hijab by the deputies.

“Wearing a headscarf is a constant reminder of one’s faith and religious obligations, and having one’s hair and neck uncovered in public is a grave violation of faith and religious practice, and a deeply humiliating and defiling experience that weighs heavily. on his religious practice, ”we read in the lawsuit.

Cave was released the next day, but was not allowed to put on the hijab until after she was released from prison.

The charges in the lawsuit include violation of the First Amendment, violation of the Equal Protection Clause, violation of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and municipal accountability for policies / procedures / inadequate customs, lack of training, ratification / acquiescence.

Although the county has yet to be served with the trial, Genesee County District Attorney David Leyton said based on media accounts and what he was told: “We would take something like that very seriously. “

“We respect all religions and all religious customs and traditions,” he told MLive-The Flint Journal. “It is difficult for me to answer the facts as set out in the complaint because I have not seen it.”

Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson could not immediately be reached for comment.

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