9th Circuit to Rehear|Hijab Removal Case


     (CN) – The 9th Circuit will rehear the case of a Muslim woman who said her rights were violated when she was forced to remove her headscarf for security reasons at the Orange County Superior Courthouse.




     Souhair Khatib sued Orange County, Calif., and some of its officials after she was forced to remove her hijab, or headscarf, in public on two occasions while being held in the courthouse for a probation violation.
     Khatib claimed the security policy violated her religious freedom.
     “Appearing in the presence of male non-family members without a hijab is a serious breach of faith and a deeply humiliating and defiling experience,” she told the district court.
     In May, a 9th Circuit panel ruled 2-1 that the headscarf removal did not violate Khatib’s rights, because a courthouse holding cell is not an “institution” as defined by the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act.
     In his dissenting opinion, Chief Judge Alex Kozinski said Khatib had been “held in a facility covered by the RLUIPA and is entitled to its protections. This pretty much sums up the case for me.”
     The court voted to rehear the case en banc, before an 11-judge panel. In doing so, it vacated the panel’s earlier ruling for Orange County.

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