Raneen Albaghdady, 32, says she felt humiliated when Wayne County Circuit Judge William Callahan ordered her to remove her hijab at a June 16 hearing in his Detroit courtroom. The headscarf, which does not cover the face, is worn by many Muslims in the U.S.
"This is the country and the land of freedom, and we're not supposed to be treated like this for the scarf," the Dearborn Heights woman said at a news conference Wednesday at the Southfield headquarters of the Council on American-Islamic Relation's Michigan chapter, which joined in the federal lawsuit against Callahan and Wayne County.
A courtroom video of the hearing shows Albaghdady appearing before Callahan wearing a loose headscarf.
"No hats allowed in the courtroom," Callahan told her.
"This one?" she asked, touching her scarf. "Ah, OK. It doesn't matter."
Albaghdady pushed back her headscarf for the rest of the hearing on her request to change her name. Callahan denied the request on technical grounds.
"Judge Callahan and the court have the greatest respect for spiritual practices and all religious preferences," Callahan said in a statement released by the court. "Had he been informed that the head covering had some religious significance, the judge would have permitted Ms. Albaghdady to continue wearing it in court."
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