US judge charges Muslim woman for refusing to remove headscarf

ATLANTA: A judge ordered a Muslim woman arrested on Tuesday for contempt of court for refusing to take off her headscarf at a security checkpoint. The judge ordered Lisa Valentine, 40, to serve 10 days in jail, said police in Douglasville, in Atlanta.

Valentine violated a court policy that prohibits people from wearing any headgear in court, police said. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) urged federal authorities to investigate the incident in Georgia. “I just felt stripped of my civil, my human rights,” Valentine told AP on Wednesday from her home, after she said she was unexpectedly released once CAIR got involved. Jail officials declined to say why she was freed. Municipal Court Judge Keith Rollins said that ‘it would not be appropriate’ for him to comment on the case. Valentine’s husband, Omar Hall, said his wife was accompanying her nephew to a traffic citation hearing when officials stopped her at the metal detector and told her she would not be allowed in the courtroom with the headscarf.

Hall said Valentine, an insurance underwriter, told the bailiff that she had been in courtrooms before with the scarf on and that removing it would be a religious violation. When she turned to leave and uttered an expletive, Hall said a bailiff handcuffed her and took her before the judge.