Outrageous: Muslim Woman, Lisa Valentine, Jailed for “Hijab Contempt” in Georgia!

We are happy to introduce the latest addition to our Associate Writers, one who is quite familiar to regular bloggers. We are excited to welcome Br. Abdul-Malik Ryan (Abu Noor Al-Irlandee), who joins the MM family with this post. You can read about Br. Abu Noor’s background on our updated Associates page. A related message to our female readers: our next Associate introduced will indeed be a sister (coming very soon inshallah!). -MM Staff

lisa-valentine.jpg

PLEASE DIGG POST

A Muslim woman in Georgia, Lisa Miedah Valentine was jailed for contempt of court on December 16, 2008 after refusing to remove her headscarf, or hijab.  When told by a court bailiff to remove her head covering due to a general court policy, Ms. Valentine attempted to inform the bailiff that the headcovering was religious prescribed and she could not remove it.  The bailiff handcuffed Ms. Valentine and brought her in front of the judge who then ordered her jailed for ten days for contempt of court.

According to a news report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, several other Muslim women have complained of similar actions by this Judge in the last year or so, and there was another incident in Valdosta, Georgia in which the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) was involved.  CAIR has released a press statement calling for the Department of Justice to investigate this latest incident and the disturbing pattern to determine if the Muslim women’s civil or religious rights were violated.  CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper is cited in the press release saying, “Judges have the right set standards of dress and behavior in their courtrooms, but those standards should not violate the constitutional right to free exercise of religion or block unencumbered access to our nation’s legal system.”

It is very common in courtrooms throughout the country to have general policies prohibiting the wearing of headgear in general.  However, many of them have explicit exceptions for religiously mandated headgear.  As an attorney I appear in courtrooms on a regular basis wearing a kufi and have seen women in hijab or men in yarmulkes also appearing in court.  In fact, according to reports Ms. Valentine, who had recently moved to Georgia, indicated to the bailiff that she had been in courtrooms with her hijab before.  While obviously an incident like this could happen anywhere, it seems unlikely that it would occur in a city like Chicago or New York where the Judges are more likely to see a variety of people in religious headgear, Muslims, Jews, Sikhs, and others on a regular basis.

It is important that we be assertive in demanding our civil rights and that we continue to educate people around us.  There is no reason why something such as wearing a hijab, or kufi, or a sikh wearing a turban should be threatening or make others uncomfortable.  It should be stressed that contrary to the expected nonsense swirling on the anti-Muslim rightwing websites the request to remove Ms. Valentine’s headscarf had nothing to do with security.  She had already gone through the metal detector, and the bailiff was enforcing a policy against the headscarf by the Judge who based on the reports by other Muslim women apparently has a bias against Muslims.  Regardless of the blustering by the anti-Muslim forces, Muslims should stand by our principles on matters such as this with dignity and no doubt we will be joined by civil rights and civil liberties defenders and religiously observant people of all backgrounds.

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54 responses to “Outrageous: Muslim Woman, Lisa Valentine, Jailed for “Hijab Contempt” in Georgia!”

  1. Amad says:

    DIGG:
    http://digg.com/politics/Muslim_Woman_Lisa_Valentine_Jailed_for_Hijab_Contempt

    Welcome ya Abu Noor… great to have you on board here on MM… our site has just gone up one notch intellectually with your presence :)

  2. bismillah. [comment by abu abdAllah]

    mashaAllah, abu Noor, you do a great job of explaining this outrageous situation. welcome to MM as a writer. and may Allah bring vindication swiftly for this woman, and relief for other sisters having to appear in these courts. from what i have read, this sister was only there accompanying her son who had a traffic violation.

    for many years Muslim Americans have known about government-discrimination faced by our sisters in France, Turkey, and elsewhere in Europe. now we witness it here at home.

    • Maree says:

      If we went to your country we would be expected to abide by your laws. When you come to our country, you are to abide by ours!

  3. Siraaj says:

    By the way, the sister also mentioned she tried to actually leave when they told her she couldn’t enter with it on, and then they handcuffed her.

    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/crime/2008/12/17/sanchez.mississippi.death.cnn

    Siraaj

  4. Yasir Qadhi says:

    Salaam Aliakum

    I’m ecstatic that you joined us; waiting for more articles from you!

    W.r.t. this case, is there anything we can do?

    Yasir

  5. MR says:

    Yeah I blogged about this earlier. What if it was a Christian nun or an orthodox Jewish woman, would this still happen?

    • roald says:

      Likely nothing, thus the ACLU-supported lawsuit. I am saddened that she was accosted and appalled that she was jailed. I am gladdened that the state changed the rules.

  6. bismillah. [update by abu abdAllah]

    Siraaj, i think you meant this link? http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2008/12/17/dcl.dornin.head.scarf.arrest.cnn

    before the interview segment ran, the CNN reporter stated that Ms. Valentine uttered some profanity. but the interview itself did not give her a chance to rebut that assertion. according to the interview, she was accompanying her nephew and was stopped even before she had gone through the courthouse’s metal detector. rather than let her leave when she was denied entry, Ms. Valentine says she was handcuffed and dragged before the judge.

  7. J says:

    Sue. Sue. Sue. Sue. Sue.

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    -Edited. Got the point bro.

  8. Amad says:

    MR, I doubt that it would happened with anyone other than Muslim. If that happened to a Jewish or Christian (nun), you would have seen much more outrage than the CNN anchor saying “it’s a sticky situation”, as if there is something to be doubtful about.

    This is a fundamental freedom of religion issue… when state laws conflict with federal law, federal preemption comes into play (correct me Abu Noor/AbuAbdallah)… freedom of religion is a fundamental right that cannot be touched by state law, and where it does, the DOJ can and should get involved because constitutional questions arise (a federal case). The sister should sue in federal court as well. This judge needs to be thrown into the Gitmo facility for terrorizing the American judicial system!

  9. Amatullah says:

    Welcome to Muslim Matters br Abu Noor! I’m looking forward to reading more of your pieces inshaAllah.

    As for the article, subhanAllah it’s really sad…even more sad that crimes like this have become a norm and do not really shock us anymore. Allahul Musta’aan.

  10. This news is most disturbing.

    Looking forward to your contributions.

  11. bismillah. [by abu abdAllah]

    i worry about how much more humiliation would have befallen a sister in niqab at that courthouse.

    many judges use their authority to enforce a respectful and business-like atmosphere. i know a federal judge in los angeles who was so strict that during a visit to the federal courthouse our law school civil procedure class was warned — not once but repeatedly, and before ever stepping in his courtroom — not to chew gum, read any books or papers, have conversations, and a short list of other offenses to the dignity of the court — all things for which this judge had reprimanded different people over the years. and yes, we had a minimum standard for attire that day.

    cases like this one in Georgia, though, show how tenuous a concept is justice or freedom. things get messy because judges are people. each has his own limits and comfort zones. and those limitations themselves can change over time as people in one place become more accustomed to people and situations that were once new or even bizarre to them.

    it’s regrettable that this judge used his power to jail women who did not conform to his standard of “proper attire.” especially since that attire was both decent and respectful. since this was not the first incident with that judge, he could have taken the initiative to learn more about the people of his community, the people he serves. he could have done some kind of outreach to the Muslim community.

    likewise, though, i would like to know what outreach the Muslim community there in Georgia has done to its judges and to other institutions that are meant to serve all residents regardless of religion or appearance. sometimes there is a rush to litigate — and litigation is by its very nature adversarial.

    at the end of last years convention, i suggested to the TDC planners that on one day of the convention they organize “field trips” from the convention center to various institutions in the Houston area — to the police station, the fire department, the courthouses, the Red Cross, even the FBI offices. any similar large government or public institution. it would give those institutions a chance to meet Muslims — just imagine a busload of Muslims getting dropped off at the Federal Building, for a tour. every employee there would notice. and it would also help ease fears among Muslims, inshaAllah — the more we create barriers, the more these institutions that are meant to serve us will be seen by us as “other” and vice versa.

  12. umm sakeenah says:

    Bismillah.

    This news is indeed very heart-wrenching as only Allah knows how many other sisters have had to go through this type of humiliation and never get to speak up about it.

    But, is having this sister’s picture up here on MM really necessary? Her face and smile are being exposed for all the brothers to see. It’s bad enough this poor sister had to be treated so harshly and now you’re putting up her picture for all the world to see? I think we should be respectful of EVERY sister and not display their pictures on any blogs.

    May Allah grant the Muslimah’s of this Ummah an abundance of respect and dignity along with patience and gratitude. Ameen.

  13. Gohar says:

    Georgian muslims should be proud to have such a good one living amongst them.

  14. […] Muslim Woman, Jailed for “Hijab Contempt” in Georgia […]

  15. Christopher says:

    While I do appreciate the need to respect all religious affiliations, the one thing I need to correct in your article is that the woman was not arrested for wearing the headscarf, but for uttering curses toward the bailiff while she was walking away. While I personally believe that it was improper, none the less, the correct reason should be stated.

    • SEAHAWK says:

      The hypocrisy of the US court is crystal clear. The Muslim woman has her human right to cover her hairs as ordered by Islam. By ordering the Muslim woman to expose her hairs, the US court has expose its own hypocrisy and violation of human rights.

      Will you be happy if the US court order your mother, sisters, wife or your daughters to expose their vagina?

  16. […] Muslim groups are calling her jailing “outrageous” (source), but is it? Is it really outrageous to expect courtroom security officers to enforce these rules […]

  17. Jazzakum Allaahu Khayr to everyone for their kind words for me and their support for our sister.

    I think we should all support CAIR’s call for the Justice Department to investigate this particular Judge since it appears that he has a pattern of incidents with Muslim sisters.

    We should also call publicly for the right of all religiously observant people to be able to observe their religion in public places.

    This is not, as the anti-Muslim commentators would like us to believe, a question of “Sharia Law” versus “American Law” but a simple question of the rights of all people in the United States under the Constitution and Civil Rights laws (especially the Civil Rights Act of 1964) to practice one’s own religion and to be free from discrimination on the basis of religion.

    Amad, you are correct that in general federal law preempts state law. However, the issue gets a little tricky here because of a Supreme Court case Employment Division v. Smith (1990), in which the Court upheld the denial of unemployment benefits to an individual who lost his job for smoking peyote, which was part of his Native American religious practice. In that case, Justice Scalia and the majority established a principle that a State government could not be forced to give an exception for generally applicable laws on the basis of religion. The Court tried to distinguish this from other cases where it had forced governments to make accomodations to generally applicable laws to account for people’s religious practices.

    In any event, the U.S. Congress responded to this decision by passing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) which attempted to restore a previous doctrine which would overturn laws which substantially burdened religious practice unless they were shown to be “least restrictive means” of furthering a “compelling state interest.” The Supreme Court found RFRA unconstitutional with respect to state and local governments, although it remains applicable for Federal laws and actions.

    In response to these Supreme Court decisions, numerous states have passed RFRAs at the state level, although I don’t believe Georgia is one of them. I don’t know what specific religious freedom provisions are available under the Georgia constitution or laws or local laws in this case. Of course, Georgia must allow access to its courts for all citizens equally and cannot discriminate against one religion in particular….which is why a little more investigation is required of what exactly is the deal with this Judge.

    So, the legal process should go on but even more important I think is to rally around the principle of free expression of religion for all and equality for all that large majorities of Americans should support if not blinded by anti-Muslim prejudice. I think if we shine light on the issue and ally and cooperate with other religious groups we should be able to bring public pressure to have the courts in Georgia explicitly make an exception for religious headgear, as I observed that many other courts do all around the country on a regular basis.

  18. Christopher,

    Thank you for your support for religious freedom. Upon what are you basing your statement that she was arrested for swearing? The judge is not commenting on the case, and the police are quoted in the stories I read as saying that she violated a rule against headgear in courtrooms. Now, most of the stories have contained various other aspects of the story according to Ms. Valentine and other witnesses but I’m not sure how you know what the exact cause of the arrest was. Also, another Muslim woman is quoted as saying she was jailed by this Judge for wearing a headscarf. Can you let me know?

    In any event, the important principle is that she was barred from a public courthouse due to her religion, this is unacceptable and outrageous.

  19. Bismillah

    Well, back in 2001 when I visited USA, I was very, very apprehensive about how my naqab and abaya would be perceived. News reports like these kind of put you on the defensive. Anyway, to make a long story short, I did not face any rude behavior, nor was I asked to remove my naqab to identify myself at airport security — at first. People were very polite when they asked me to identify myself. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most American people were very friendly and curious about my attire. Imagine my surprise when an elderly American gentleman, who was at a convenience store with his wife, held the door open for me when I approached the exit. I was really surprised that an American could show such courtesy for a hijabi-naqaabi woman! At Chicago Union Station, I prayed Asr in the waiting area (as there was no other place to pray!) and I was amused at how the only “reaction” to my public salah demo that I could see was that of an elderly couple sitting nearby, whispering something to each other while eyeing me with ……well, it was a mixture of awe and intrigue, with a tinge of disdain.

    However, that was before 9/11, and it was not Atlanta, but Chicago and Detroit, which has more Muslims, I guess.

    When I crossed the Canada-America border in 2004 (coming into America), the cop (he was in uniform, I don’t know if he was a policeman or a government official) said this to my husband, without even glancing my way:

    “Sir, I don’t want to get into any kind of argument, but what I understand is that in your religion, no man is supposed to see you wife’s face, is that right?” To which my husband just nodded, and that was that. They did not ask me to remove my naqaab when they went through my documents. Not even the women officers. It was smooth sailing for us, even though some other foreign visitors were having a harder time explaining their itinerary to the officials there.

    My two cents worth on the whole issue is that if an Ulul-Amr — whether a Muslim or non-Muslim, who is in charge of a certain group or place, asks you to do something against the command of Allah, we can refuse him or her but it can be done with respect. After all, the one in a position of authority should be treated with respect, especially a judge. He is called “your honor” after all! :)

    Before drawing conclusions about the whole issue, we should really try to find out whether the reason for her arrest was her refusal to remove her headscarf or her alleged use of foul language. Muslims should be very careful about their behavior in public in non-Muslim majority areas. Each and every movement and reaction is strictly under observation, thanks all the more to the ever-present media coverage.

    I agree with umm sakeenah about the photograph somewhat. Perhaps a thumbnail would have sufficed?

  20. Dottie says:

    Responding to: Whether this would happen to a nun or jewish woman. Yes it does. I witnessed it personally while sitting on jury in Florida. The Catholic nun was not allowed to wear her habit (robe) or headgear in the courtroom. The only identifying item she wore was a cross necklace ,which was not considered prejudicial.

  21. LaSevillana says:

    I don’t understand the following quote: “In any event, the important principle is that she was barred from a public courthouse due to her religion, this is unacceptable and outrageous.”

    Writers on this same sight have claimed repeatedly that the hijab has nothing to due with religion, especially in the context of so-called honour killings. Yet, here, when someone was refused admittance to a public place for wearing a headscarf, it is claimed that it was due to her religion. Technically, it was due to the wearing of the hijab, which is understood as “oppressive” and therefore “un-Western.” (And I have to repeatedly remind myself that we western women are not oppressed. Right.)

    In the future, whenever the headscarf issue comes into focus, may I suggest the following? From the perspective of a westerner, arguing that honour-related killings and such have nothing to due with Islam because the headscarf has nothing to due to Islam is ridiculous and easily dismissable by nearly any reasoning creature. Especially when one can quickly find instances where Muslims themselves claim the hijab is a religious right (which I believe it is, btw). Instead, focus on the fact that just because a few wack jobs use Islam as an excuse for the things that they do (Ever heard of David Koresh? Like this is specific to Muslims?) doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with either Islam OR hijabs. People use all kinds of excuses for the things that they do – especially when they know they’re doing something that they shouldn’t. Islam. Christianity. A Jewish homeland. The preservatives they put in all the foods these days, etc etc.

    Am I making sense here? What I guess I’m trying to say is to get the story straight. Claiming that the hijab and Islam have nothing to do with each other in one context and then doing the opposite in another does not help to clear things up for those coming to this site for clarification and to educate themselves.

    Peace Out

  22. Umm Hussain says:

    I am in Northern NJ. How I wish all my Muslim and non-Muslilm friends from up here could go en masse on a daily basis in hijab, hats, high fashion scarves with dark sunglasses (ala Hollywood movies) to the court and see what the response would be. An idea for those of you in the area who are wondering “what can I do about this foolishness.”

    To those who suggest this is a security matter, it is not. It is simply about court decorum. People could carry a lot more contraband under a coat than a lady wearing a scarf. Most of us, including the judge, knows the difference between a man with a baseball hat on backwards and a person observing their religious duty (Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, etc.). The judge appears to be in need a diversity training class. Perhaps Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a Muslim judge from the New York Supreme Court can have a sit down with this sad example of an officer of the court.

    Here in Jersey, many of us are outraged at this new report — especially the hijabi security guards at federal and court buildings in Newark and Harlem. Jailing a woman in a scarf because she was rude at worst is indicative to the world that despite Obama’s success, racism is alilve and well in the US and that racist cowardice is still the common behavior of many white men in position. No, this is not a race card being played. If the lady had blonde strands of hair peeking through her scarf against her pale white skin, it is highly unlikely the guard would have even spoken to her.

  23. sincethestorm says:

    what’s sad is that AOL is taking a poll to see if this is fair for the woman to be jailed for wearing a scarf. 54% (31,000) voted it was fair and 46% said it was unfair. Not only does the judge need diversity training but also the American people.

  24. Amad says:

    LaSevillana said:

    Am I making sense here?

    Actually you are not.

    Writers on this same sight have claimed repeatedly that the hijab has nothing to due with religion, especially in the context of so-called honour killings.

    What? Which writers? Which post? Hijab has EVERYTHING to do with religion, why else would a woman cover her head in the face of so much bias?

    What does “especially in the context of so-called honour killings” mean? The point of that post (I assume you are referring to the post by Anonymouse on Aqsa Parvez) was to state clearly that Islam would never permit any violence against a woman for not wearing the hijab, even if it is her individual, religious duty. There is a difference between saying that hijab has nothing to do with religion and saying that violence against women due to hijab has nothing to do with religion. I hope you understand the distinction now.

    And I am not sure how you dragged other unrelated issues about Muslims doing wrong things in the name of Islam, into this argument. Just because someone commits wrong actions in the name of religion, doesn’t take the right away from another practitioner of the same religion to practice their own freedom of religion. One person’s misadventures are not reason enough for stripping of another’s constitutional rights.

    I would request that before you jump to conclusions and make strange arguments about what we are trying to portray on this website and how we are contradicting things, please just ask. We can try to clear your misunderstandings so you can discriminate between different situations.

    thanks.

  25. Sadaf Farooqi,

    Thank you for your comments and sharing your experiences.

    As I tried to indicate in my post by sharing my own experience, there are many good and decent people in the United States who generally try to respect other people’s religion. It is fearmongers who try to stir up hatred against people who are different or certain groups that try to create unnnecessary division. This is why, while in a public context we must demand our rights clearly and plainly in personal interactions we should always be polite and attempt to explain things to people that they may not understand in the best way possible.

    Dottie,

    Thank you for sharing that experience with the Nun. May I ask you, what was her role in the case you witnessed? The issue of possibly prejudicing a jury is a different one from the ‘public decorum’ issue that was at play here, although if the Nun was somehow denied access to the courts that should be a major concern.

    LaSevillana,

    Thank you for your questions, suggestions, and your support for religious freedom. I don’t know to what you are referring, but I doubt anyone on this site claimed that the hijab has nothing to do with religion. Honor killing is not sanctioned in Islam, but I’m sure everyone on this site would agree that the hijab is religiously prescribed for Muslim women. Incidentally, although the hijab is religiously required for Muslim women (although obviously not all Muslim women choose to wear it) the issue from an American legal point of view is not whether some conduct or other is religioiusly required, but simply whether it is legitimately motivated by a sincere religious belief. Now, the issue of it being required may come into play in this question becasue many Muslim women would rather not go to court than remove their hijab becasue they understand the requirement to be that strong and this would prevent them from having access to the courts. So, I agree with the thoughts expressed in your penultimate paragraph, but again I do not think you are referring to any posts on this site..I think the writers on this site would in general share the explanation you suggest.

  26. Oh, LaSevillana, by the way that’s a nice moniker you have there….are you from Andalusia?

  27. Miako says:

    abu noor,

    the idea of it being religious necessary seems germane to me. For instance, that nun is not required by her religion to wear a habit, she chooses it (there used to be a different ruling, I believe), and can therefore be asked if she would mind removing it. Again, this should not get to the point of ordering someone to not wear something that is part of their religion.
    i am not a lawyer… are you? if so, I apologize for stepping on your toes!

  28. LaSevillana says:

    Abu Noor Al-Irlandee
    No, I’m not from Andalusia. I’m actually an American living in Seville (in Andalusia, yes). I’m happy to say that we see women on the streets here (mostly Moroccan women, but there are some Spanish converts) all the time wearing their headscarfs. I feel like when I see them that they add something to the city. Something good, btw. I was referring to the story “Tragic Murder of Aqsa Parvez” and the posts the followed it claiming that the hijab has nothing to do with Islam. It has everything to do with Islam. The killings, however, are related to culturally proscribed concepts of family honor and a father who obviously had psychological problems and perhaps difficulties with anger control.

    I don’t understand, Amad, why you would become so defensive in regard to my post. I am neither ignorant nor did I claim in the post that the hijab should not be worn or that it isn’t in a religious right. In fact, I did just the opposite. Please re-read my post and perhaps try to be a little more open-minded yourself.

    Incidently, one individual on another post pointed out that notions of family honor are not specific to Muslims, but come from a specific geographical area and are common among Christians, Muslims and Jews alike (hence, the so-called honor killings among Christians). I can attest to that. I have a great, great grandfather (Christian) who was from Lebanon, and my father, who is of Lebanese and German ancestry, always lectured my brother and I about how everything we did reflected upon our family and to consider the family’s reputation. He never used the word honour, but I believe it’s the same concept and that it came from the old country.

    Peace Out

  29. Miako,

    I understand what you are saying. I am a lawyer, but you’re not stepping on my toes! Your comments and opinions are always welcomed by me. Even in the ‘nun’ story shared on these comments, the Sister (get it, sister?) was still permitted to wear her cross, and that is not religiously “required.” But therein lies the problem, it is not up to nor is it proper for the secular U.S. government to determine what is or is not “required” by a certain faith..how could they do that? Certainly many times scholars of that religion may disagree, and the individual himself or herself may have their own ‘understanding’ of the correct view, how could some Judge, not even of that faith, step in and tell them what their religion actually says? So, that’s why the standard is sincerely religiously motivated conduct…now becasue the freedom is freedom of religion not freedom to do whatever you want, the person has to show that it is a religious belief that prescribes the headcovering or whatever, not merely some ‘personal belief’ that wearing hats is cool.

    Constitutional issues involving religion in the U.S. are always fascinating because of the tension that comes into play between the two guarantees : freedom of religion and the prohibition of religious establishment.

  30. AnonyMouse says:

    Writers on this same sight have claimed repeatedly that the hijab has nothing to due with religion, especially in the context of so-called honour killings.

    Hello,
    I’m the author of the piece on Aqsa Parvez, and I’d just like to confirm what Amad and Abu Noor both said: hijaab is indeed an obligation in Islam, but with respect to “honour killing,” there is absolutely nothing in Islam which justifies violence towards those who do not wear it. Neither I nor any other writer of this website has claimed anything else, and especially not that hijaab is not a religious obligation.

  31. Amad says:

    LaSevillana, I was not defensive, just a bit annoyed that you would assert something about materials on this site, which is simply not factual. I see now that you didn’t mean it in a incendiary way, so I am sorry I popped off there :)

    I would still appreciate it if you could pease point us to the exact post or the comment (by one of the writers here) on the basis of which you wrote that, “Writers on this same sight have claimed repeatedly that the hijab has nothing to due with religion”. Maybe there’s a misunderstanding we can sort out.

    thanks again!

  32. […] on it. More from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post, IslamOnline, Jezebel, MuslimMatters, Just Another Angry Black Muslim Woman?, and more from the […]

  33. Al-Madrasi says:

    May Allah Azzawajal ease us out affairs…

  34. LaSevillana says:

    Amad, no problem! I’ve been reading the comments on this site and it’s easy to see how one can reach the point where it seems that you must constantly defend yourself. You needn’t with me. There’s also the problem of trying to get a point across using a kind of media through which it is difficult to distinguish between someone who is a bone-head and someone with a wry sense of humor — both of which I have been guilty of, depending on the occasion.

    When I said “writers” I meant those writers in the Comments section, not the actual writers on the staff of MuslimMatters. My apologies. This whole the-headscarf-has-nothing-to-do-with-Islam thing that has been banded about (especially by academics) has been really bugging me lately, and so I probably over-reacted myself when I saw the posts taking that position. I know that millions upon millions of women put on the headscarf every day with reverence, and, while I respect a woman’s decision NOT to wear the hijab, I also don’t think it’s correct to reduce something with such symbolic symbolism for so many to just some cultural quirk. But the main point of my post was that this arguement, that the headscarf has nothing to do with Islam and therefore so-called honour killings have nothing to do with Islam, is just patently illogical. There are much better arguements available to prove that point, many of which were used in the very same Comments section.

    Sorry to have dragged this thing off topic. You all have my sincerest apologies. I just got a bit over-excited.

    Peace Out.

  35. LaSevillana says:

    Pardon me, I meant INcorrect to reduce something with such symbolic symbolism for so many to just some cultural quirk.

  36. shayan duxka says:

    ” am in Northern NJ. How I wish all my Muslim and non-Muslilm friends from up here could go en masse on a daily basis in hijab, hats, high fashion scarves with dark sunglasses (ala Hollywood movies) to the court and see what the response would be. An idea for those of you in the area who are wondering “what can I do about this foolishness.”

    To those who suggest this is a security matter, it is not. It is simply about court decorum. People could carry a lot more contraband under a coat than a lady wearing a scarf. Most of us, including the judge, knows the difference between a man with a baseball hat on backwards and a person observing their religious duty (Muslim, Sikh, Jewish, etc.). The judge appears to be in need a diversity training class. Perhaps Hon. Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a Muslim judge from the New York Supreme Court can have a sit down with this sad example of an officer of the court.

    Here in Jersey, many of us are outraged at this new report — especially the hijabi security guards at federal and court buildings in Newark and Harlem. Jailing a woman in a scarf because she was rude at worst is indicative to the world that despite Obama’s success, racism is alilve and well in the US and that racist cowardice is still the common behavior of many white men in position. No, this is not a race card being played. If the lady had blonde strands of hair peeking through her scarf against her pale white skin, it is highly unlikely the guard would have even spoken to her.”

    “especially the hijabi security guards at federal and court buildings in Newark and Harlem. Jailing a woman in a scarf because she was rude at worst is indicative to the world that despite Obama’s success, racism is alilve and well in the US and that racist cowardice is still the common behavior of many white men in position.”

    I’m sorry sister but you need to get your facts straight. Take a look at the judge in this case and tell me if he looks like a white man to you.
    http://wordpress.com/tag/judge-keith-rollins/

    http://www.ajc.com/services/content/printedition/2008/12/17/hijab.html

    “No, this is not a race card being played”

    It most definitely is, and Let me tell you that my wife who is a blond haired blue eyed non-revert Muslim like myself, gets far more dirty looks when she’s with me or my brothers (I have a dark beard) including people asking her how a western white woman could have so little self-esteem that she would turn her back on her people for an alien religion. They’ve called white converts “docile” and “self-hating whites”
    and “weak-willed and not having the backbone to stand up to their muslim husbands.”

    Let me remind you that BOTH of us are the same ethnicity and while we are practicing muslims, we also have our own culture to be proud of and don’t pretend we’re Arabs like some people.

    It’s been said that quite a few African American Muslims are attracted to NOI for it’s anti-white hate mongering rather than the Pure Word of the one true (pbuh). How would you like it if that were perpetuated about you?

  37. Miako says:

    abu noor,
    Thank you for your excellent followup!

    shayan,
    You aren’t alone — many people do not understand how religion and ethnicity relate, and tend to have weird views on converts. I would say that this is particularly the case between Christianity and Islam, because they are both universal faiths, believing that everyone should convert to their faith, and attempting to carry this out.

  38. Umm Hussain says:

    What does the Nation of Islam have to do with anything written here.

    For the record, the reality is that white women are generally treated better in this society. That is the basis for my comments. All my beautiful blonde co-workers, friends and sisters will attest to this. And all my beautiful brown-skinned sisters will back them up. Harsh reality, but that’s the truth.

    Judge B. Keith Rollin’s ethnicity was never mentioned in my previous post. That is not the issue. It is his ignorance.

    The Georgia Municipal Court online rules permit headgear based on religious observation.

  39. Shayan Dukxa says:

    For the record, the reality is that white women are generally treated better in this society. That is the basis for my comments. All my beautiful blonde co-workers, friends and sisters will attest to this. And all my beautiful brown-skinned sisters will back them up. Harsh reality, but that’s the truth.

    Judge B. Keith Rollin’s ethnicity was never mentioned in my previous post. That is not the issue. It is his ignorance.

    The Georgia Municipal Court online rules permit headgear based on religious observation.

    With your racist comments, I doubt you have any white friends, muslim or not.

    And believe me, white muslims are looked at with much more disdain than black muslims. They say we’re weak, or have turned our back on our own identity. Even those of us who aren’t reverts. I don’t know how many times my wife has had to explain that she isn’t some cowed fool, but born muslimah, just like all her family for the last 200 or so years.-

  40. AnonyMouse says:

    Police to get sensitivity training after headscarf-wearer’s arrest:
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/22/georgia.muslim.courthouse/

  41. Rosa says:

    Shayan Duxa: In response to your comment “With your racist comments, I doubt you have any white friends, muslim or not.” What racist comments? Addressing honestly just a slice of what life is like for a woman of color? Reiterating what I have seen and lived on both sides of the world? I am not racist, and without being stereotypical, I do have white friends. For the record, I am of many different nationalities. There is nothing racist about knowing for yourself and telling your children that they may or may not be favored, be chosen for friendships, employment or even marriage based on their physical features and preparing them for that reality. Speaking the truth and addressing the harsh realities of life are often unpopular, but that does not change the truth. Ask any woman of color in the US, in Africa, in the Middle East — lighter skinned and straighter hair is often preferred.

    And any male of dark skin in this society knows how he has to be extremely careful in certain locations, neighborhoods, etc. when driving, shopping, socializing or conducting business. Your experiences are quite valid, but it is more than likely that people may dislike your wife because of their ignorance and because of her faith. If she was not a hijabi or a niqabi, I am sure she would be treated quite different. Perhaps because of my location (Northeast) where cultures are so varied, things are very different here. Muslims with white skin are often viewed as Muslims, just as Muslims with dark skin are also viewed as … Muslims. Masha Allah, most of our security concerns are related to gang activity. I am your sister in Islam and sincerely apologize if I have offended you.

  42. bismillah. jazak Allah khayr for the update!

    AnonyMouse said:

    Police to get sensitivity training after headscarf-wearer’s arrest:
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/12/22/georgia.muslim.courthouse/

    i think it is worth pointing out that the judge himself will also participate in the sensitivity training. and that the sister admitted to using an expletive at the time. alhamdolillah alaa kulli haal, one good result of all this should be, inshaAllah, that Muslim women wearing hijab (and hopefully munaqabahs, too) will get more considerate treatment at that courthouse, and maybe elsewhere if word spreads.

  43. Muslim Woman says:

    […] Comment on Outrageous: Muslim Woman, Lisa Valentine, Jailed for .. one good result of all this should be, inshaAllah, that Muslim women wearing hijab (and hopefully munaqabahs, too) will get more considerate treatment at that courthouse, and maybe elsewhere if word spreads. […]

  44. […] Outrageous: Muslim Woman, Lisa Valentine, Jailed for “Hijab Contempt” in Georgia! […]

  45. HalalBuzz says:

    Assalam Alaikum

    Please sign this petition initiated by a Judge in GA.

    http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/JudgeRollins/?e

    To summarize, Keith Rollins is a licensed attorney in the State of Georgia and works as a Judge in Douglasville, GA. It is our opinion that Judge Rollins has participated in a pattern of systematically depriving persons of their civil rights based upon their race, color, sex, religious identification and national origin. By incarcerating or threatening to incarcerate Muslim women in Douglasville, GA who wear their required head covering (hijab) to his court, Judge Rollins has repeatedly violated his minimal professional duties and the protected rights of multiple persons. The victims of his behavior include Lisa Valentine, Sabreen Abdul Rahman and Halimah Abdullah.

  46. Farhan says:

    Stories like this are why I love CAIR

  47. TRENCHANT COMMENTATOR says:

    The hijab is NOT religiously prescribed. In point of fact, the hijab is an Islamofascist prescription for women who wish to show their solidarity with Islam/Islamic goals, and dates ALL THE WAY BACK TO ABOUT 1971.

    It helps the “Islamofascist agenda” that so many Muslims are virtually illiterate and cannot confirm this fact for themselves.

    • Qas says:

      Do you guys even try anymore?

    • SEAHAWK says:

      By reading your immoral comment, I instantly know that you are shameless savage racist liar who enjoy slandering innocent people. Your slander and lies reflect your delusional personality. The undeniable fact is you don’t know Islam and Muslims at all and you are brainwashed by the corrupt, immoral and whorish Zionist media to hate Islam and spread lies against Islam. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself?

      The fact is the Qur’an and hadith order Muslim women to cover their hairs etc. Good Muslim women will obey them ! After all, it is their human right and free will to cover their hairs.

  48. Dawud Israel says:

    Amad: I think this video might be worth making a post about.

    The Jewish religion also commands its women to don the veil and the niqab/purdah/burkah. This video details it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0f26n5Hyno

  49. SEAHAWK says:

    Muslim Woman, Lisa Valentine, Jailed for “Hijab Contempt” in Georgia truly reflect the hypocrisy of the US court. Why does it allows Christian nuns to cover their hairs while ordering a good Muslim woman to expose hairs ? The ZIO-Nazi racist court should be abolished and the hypocrites punished for their hypocrisy and prejudice against innocent Muslims !

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