(CN) – A Muslim woman says her religious freedoms were trampled when a Michigan judge ordered her to remove her hijab at a hearing in his courtroom. Raneen Albaghdady wants the Detroit Federal Court to enjoin as unconstitutional Wayne County Court’s practice of forcing Muslim women to remove their religious head coverings.
The practice is especially troubling, Albaghdady says, because Wayne County – which includes Detroit — is home to the “highest population of Arabs outside the Middle East.”
Albaghdady appeared before Wayne County Court Judge William Callahan on June 16 for a hearing to change her name.
Callahan told her to remove her “head piece,” saying that “no hats are allowed in the courtroom,” according to her complaint.
A person accompanying Albaghdady tried to tell the judge that it was a hijab and not a hat, but Callahan insisted it be removed, which she did.
The judge then denied her petition for a name change, saying her petition was filed five days prematurely.
Plaintiff is represented by Nabih Ayad of the Council on American-Islam Relations in Michigan.