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Dearborn Heights police update head scarf policy

Steve Browne & John Verkleir

The Dearborn Heights police department will attempt to provide a female officer for Muslim women who must remove religious clothing including head coverings. The updated policy follows a lawsuit filed in January against the department by Malak Kazan, a Muslim woman. 

Kazan says she was asked to remove her head scarf for a mug shot in the presence of men. She had been arrested for driving with a suspended license. She sued the city in U.S. District Court in January. Under the new policy, a female officer will be present and removal of the head scarf will be done in a private area, if possible. 

"We welcome the decision of the Dearborn Heights police department to allow the wearing of hijab during the booking process," says Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

CAIR provided consultation on appropriate policy for Muslims in custody. According to Walid, the the use of a head scarf is allowed in U.S. passports, visas, and driver's licenses, "It in no way impedes the picture."

Under the tenets of Islam, women are required to cover their hair, ears, neck and part of her chest in public or when she is in the presence of men who are not members of her immediate family.

Walid hopes that Dearborn Heights will set a precedent for other cities in Michigan, particularly Dearborn.

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