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Woman sues Dearborn Heights police for forcing her to remove head scarf

Brian Turner
Flickr Creative Commons

A Muslim woman is challenging the policy of a suburban Detroit police department that she says required her to remove her head scarf for a mug shot.

Malak  Kazan's lawsuit against Dearborn Heights was filed this week in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

Her attorney, Emir Makled, said the policy violates his client's civil rights and her right to religious expression.

Kazan was arrested last July in Dearborn Heights  for driving with a suspended license. Her lawsuit alleges she was forced to remove her head covering for the booking photograph in violation of her religious beliefs.  

The policy "doesn't help with identification issues because when she's out in the general public, she's going to be wearing one," said Makled, who added that the head scarf didn't block her face.

Makled said his client requested that a female officer take the photograph, and her request was denied.

"We're hoping to seek a policy change within the city of Dearborn Heights as well as some compensation for the humiliation my client suffered," Makled said.  

Dearborn Heights officials declined comment.

-- Virginia Gordan, Michigan Radio Newsroom