Muslim Woman Claims Police Demeaned Her

     BROOKLYN (CN) – A Muslim woman claims in court that her civil rights were trampled when she was forced to remove her jihab to take a mug shot following a spat over a parking spot.
     Mervat Soliman and her son Mohammed Soliman sued the City of New York and its police department Monday in Brooklyn Federal Court.
     The saga began in January, when Soliman pulled up to park in a spot her husband had saved for her in front of their Ridgewood, N.Y., neighborhood.
     But her neighbor took the spot, flipped her the bird, called her an “asshole” and a “terrorist,” and told her to go back to her own country, according to the 25-page complaint.
     The neighbor then got out of her car and knocked plaintiff out, the woman claims.
     But Soliman claims the incident grew even uglier after “Islamophobe” police arrived on the scene, arrested her, and removed her veil.
     Soliman says later, while she was being questioned, she asked for something to cover her hair, and a nurse brought her a pillowcase.
     An officer then demanded that a female nurse barge into the bathroom plaintiff was using to seize her, catching her “with her pants down,” leaving her feeling “violated and exposed,” according to the complaint.
     She says she was then taken to the precinct, where she was searched and forced to cut the collar of her shirt with a pair of scissors.
     Soliman, who suffers from arthritis and hypertension, was then photographed with the pillowcase over her head. Her pleas to cover her neck and chest as part of her religion were ignored, she says.
     She was then “placed in a cell for several hours without food, heat or her veil,” she says.
     The woman claims she was then taken back to the hospital after feeling dizzy with chest pains.
     She claims she got her veil back, but was forced by officers to remove it again for another mug shot.
     “This is America, we don’t care,” an officer told her when she objected while getting her picture taken without a veil, she claims.
     She says she pleaded to have a female officer take her picture in a private room, but her requests were ignored.
     “Instead, Mervat’s photograph was taken in the well of central booking in plain sight of multiple male officers and staff,” she says.
     The NYPD should have known of the violations to her constitutional rights by forcing her to remove her religious attire, her suit claims.
     All criminal charges of assault, endangering the welfare of a child and harassment against her were ultimately dismissed, she says.
     But her neighbor, who is not a party to the lawsuit but has an alleged history of spitting on plaintiff and verbally assaulting her, wasn’t done: she filed a restraining order against the Soliman’s son because he had made fun of her, according to the complaint.
     The son was arrested and put “at the mercy of bigots and Islamophobes who at any time can invoke his arrest,” the lawsuit states.
     Plaintiff seeks damages for civil rights violations and an order declaring that forcing her to remove her scarf violated her constitutional rights. She also wants a “comprehensive plan” for officers to follow when dealing with Muslims.
     The woman and her son are represented by Tahanie A. Aboushi.
     The NYPD declined to comment on the pending litigation Tuesday morning.

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