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Head Scarves OK’d in Jail

PHOENIX (CN) - The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office will allow women detainees and inmates to wear religious head coverings. The new policy was established after a Muslim woman was denied her right to wear a head covering while detained, the ACLU says.

Sheriff's deputies forced Eman Mabrouk to remove her hijab, a religious head scarf, while she was in custody at the Fourth Avenue Jail in September 2008. Mabrouk sued the county in July 2009, claiming her First Amendment rights were violated.

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office denied Mabrouk's claims, but settled out of court, the ACLU says.

Under the policy, which was implemented in December 2008 but recently was publicized by the ACLU, women will be provided with white cloths to wear as head scarves during religious services. The policy does not mention if the sheriff's office will allow women to remove their scarves and put on the white scarves outside of the presence of men, the ACLU said.

Mabrouk was detained for questioning in a domestic dispute and says a sheriff's sergeant told her she would have to take "that thing off" her head. She says she pulled the hood of her sweatshirt over her head in an attempt to comply with her Islamic beliefs. Muslim women must remain covered at all times in public and in the presence of men.

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