Try being booked by the police — or having a driver’s license photo taken, for that matter — while you wear a mask.
Now imagine suing the police when they don’t let you keep the mask on.
That’s what is being tried by a Muslim woman who alleges in a federal civil rights lawsuit filed April 8 that New York police forced her to remove her hijab in August for a booking photo, NBC News reports.
Ihsan Malkawi says she and her husband were arrested in Yonkers in Westchester County on allegations of abuse by their daughter, which her attorney said were proven unfounded.
As she was getting booked in jail, Malkawi was allegedly forced to remove her head covering, a “demeaning and humiliating” practice, her attorney said.
The lawsuit against the City of Yonkers states that on Aug. 25, 2019, the daughter of Ihsan and her husband tried to run away from home. The couple found her that evening and brought her home, where the three argued about the daughter’s desire to return to the family’s Muslim homeland of … Michigan.
The next day the girl called 911 and falsely alleged that her mother and father had assaulted her with a belt and a curtain rod the previous night, the suit states.
When the couple returned home, they were met by three Yonkers police officers who instructed them to go to the nearest precinct, according to the lawsuit. Officers questioned the husband and wife separately, and after Malkawi met with an investigator from a child welfare agency she was arrested, handcuffed and taken to a booking cell, according to the lawsuit.
Malkawi alleges in the lawsuit that she was retrieved from her cell by a female officer who ordered her to remove her hijab for a booking photo, telling her, “You can’t take a photo or go into a cell with this.”
Malkawi refused, saying the covering was important to her religious faith. The female officer consulted a male supervisor, who refused to allow Malkawi to retain her hijab for the booking photo.
Malkawi “reluctantly removed her hijab to be photographed,” the lawsuit states, adding that she was devastated and in tears.