May 8, 2008
Muslim Woman In Court Appeal Over Veil
by Rachael Grant
A Muslim woman who refused to remove her veil during a small-claims hearing, and was subsequently dismissed, has taken the decision to the district court.
US District Judge, John Feikens, stated that he will issue a written opinion, but has not indicated which way his decision will fall; indeed it has been suggested that he may not take any action at all, a decision which is allowed by the Supreme Court.
Ginnnah Muhammad, 44, filed the suit against Judge Paul Paruk in Hamtramck, near Detroit.
Paruk asked her to remove her veil so he could observe her fully, and judge her credibility.
When Muhammad refused, Paruk said she had to remove it, or the case would be thrown out.
When Muhammad then requested a female judge, Paruk, the only district judge in the area, dismissed her from the court.
Muhammad, who was at the small-claims court to contest a $3000 rental car charge to repair a car she said thieves had damaged, wears a full hijab, and a veil that covers all but the two inches of space revealing her eyes.
After the case was dismissed, the rental company counter-sued, and won $2,083 in the ruling.
Muhammad proclaims that she loves living in the US because people can freely practice religion, but is outraged at the decision made by Paruk, which she says leaves her feeling like her religious freedom has been violated.
Margaret Nelson, the assistant state attorney general who is representing Paruk, states that the law suit has no merit, and the decision made by her client had no religious motive.
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