A 27-year-old local Muslim woman is filing a lawsuit against the Dearborn Heights (Michigan) Police department for forcing her to remove her hijab when she was arrested and booked for a traffic misdemeanor offense on July 9, 2014.Malak Kazan said she was humiliated by the department’s policy, which required her to remove her scarf when she was detained for driving on a suspended license. As part of the booking process, Kazan was asked to remove her hihab for her mug shot.
Kazan allegedly expressed concern about the policy to the police men on duty, claiming it was a violation of her religion. She allegedly asked for a female police officer, but was told they couldn’t provide her with one.
After growing frustration, Kazan was able to speak to a supervisor, who told her that removing head wear was part of the department’s policy and that she needed to comply or she would be further detained.
Local Attorney Amir Makled from the Law Office of Cyril C. Hall, is filing the case at the U.S. District Court this week. He is demanding the department change its policy and is also seeking both compensatory and punitive damages for his client.
“To be exposed in front of men who aren’t part of her immediate family is a serious breach of faith and practice,” said Makled. “She has a sincere belief in her religion and to be demanded to remove her scarf is a clear violation. She felt extremely humiliated.”
After Kazan was forced to remove her hijab for her mug shot, she was allegedly told she couldn’t put it back on while she was in custody.
This incident marks the latest in several discriminatory claims launched against the city of Dearborn Heights and its police department.
In late 2014, the American Arab Civil Rights League (ACRL) also filed a suit against the city claiming that its police officers lacked diversity training and treated Muslim Americans like “second class citizens.”
Makled called on Dearborn Heights Police Chief Lee Gavin to provide the police force with extensive diversity training in order to better reflect the city’s multi-cultured residents.
“It’s clear to me that the city needs further diversity training and more diversity is needed in the police force,” Makled said. “Their policies need to be reviewed and need to reflect and serve the constituents in the city.”