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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Georgia court jails Muslim woman for not removing head scarf
Steve Czajkowski at 6:00 PM ET

[JURIST] A Muslim woman in the US state of Georgia was arrested Tuesday and ordered to serve 10 days in jail for contempt of court after she refused to remove her headscarf [JURIST news archive], or hijab, upon entering a security checkpoint in an Atlanta courtroom. Douglasville Municipal Court [official website] Judge Keith Rollins found Lisa Valentine in contempt [Atlanta Journal-constitution report] for violating a court policy that prohibits wearing headgear in court. Valentine, who also goes by her Islamic name Miedah, was released from jail later in the day after the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [official website] called on the US Department of Justice (DOJ) [official website] to investigate the incident [press release], although jail officials European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) [official website] unanimously ruled [press release; JURIST report] that there was no human rights violation when a French school expelled two students for refusing to remove their headscarves [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive]. In May, a US federal judge dismissed a federal lawsuit [JURIST reports] filed by a Muslim woman against a judge who asked her to remove her niqab in court. In September 2007, Canadian chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand resisted calls by Canadian lawmakers [JURIST report] to invoke his discretionary powers to require women to remove traditional Muslim niqabs or burqas when voting in elections in the province of Quebec.

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