Muslim headscarves to be allowed in Georgia courtrooms

Those who walk into any Georgia courtroom will be allowed to wear head coverings, such as scarfs worn by Muslim women.

The new policy was adopted Wednesday at a meeting of the Judicial Council of Georgia, the policy-making body for Georgia courts.

This from a press release issued this afternoon:

The policy is designed to balance a court’s legitimate security concerns with a person’s right to practice his or her faith in a public place. Under the new policy, if a security officer wanted to conduct a search, the person would have the option of having the inspection performed in a private area by an officer of the same gender.

The measure stems from the December 2008 arrest of Lisa Valentine after she refused to remove her hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women. She said to do so would violate her faith. But Judge Keith Rollins of the Douglasville Municipal Court found her in contempt of court and ordered her to serve 10 days in jail.

The incident prompted a formal complaint from the U.S. Department of Justice. The Anti-Defamation League, Council on American-Islamic Relations and American Civil Liberties Union also lodged complaints.

On June 12th, Ms. Valentine testified before the Supreme Court of Georgia Committee on Access and Fairness in the Courts.

“If this had been a nun, no one would have required her to remove her habit,” said Chief Justice Carol Hunstein, who chairs the Judicial Council. “I think this is a good rule, and I think it’s clear.”

Specifically, the adopted policy states:

“Head coverings are prohibited from the courtroom except in cases where the covering is worn for medical or religious reasons. To the extent security requires a search of a person wearing a head covering for medical or religious reasons, the individual has the option of having the inspection performed by a same-sex officer in a private area. The individual is allowed to put his or her own head covering back on after the inspection is complete.”

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35 comments Add your comment

WBK

July 24th, 2009
3:19 pm

Are they in court to be prosecuted or just learning our legal system?
Hmmm…guilty of honor killings, suicide bombings, or spouse abuse.
If they are being prosecuted with they swear in? LOL just more hate the judea christain america.

Peadawg

July 24th, 2009
3:32 pm

I thought people were for equal rights? This seems like special rights to me. hmmmmmm

Corey

July 24th, 2009
3:35 pm

Here in the South religion is everything. If it’s their religious dictates, what’s the problem?

[...] Galloway reports at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution: “Those who walk into any Georgia courtroom will be allowed to wear head coverings, such as [...]

Lee Raines

July 24th, 2009
4:03 pm

Absolutely not!! This is America, not the Middle East. We are making the mistake of continuing to yield our society toMuslims, who have vowed to subject America to their control and implementation of sharia law. We need to be much more concerned for our children and grandchildren than outsiders who,collectively, are our avowed enemies.

Downtowner

July 24th, 2009
4:17 pm

Oh, for Heaven’s sake! Why are there such anti-Muslim comments here? Hijab, or a head-covering by Muslim women, is worn for the sake of religious modesty. And if this is indeed America, then shouldn’t one have the freedom to dress modestly if one wishes?

SwedeAtlanta

July 24th, 2009
4:19 pm

Ref WBK @ 3:19 p.m. and Peadawg @ 3:32 p.m.

WBK
You have been brainwashed into believing that all Muslims are criminals and only wish us ill. I won’t dispute the fact that there are many Muslim men and women who do a dishonor to their faith by engaging in all manner of evil behavior. But that is a very small minority of the faithful. Be reminded that the Christian church is responsible for the deaths of millions of pagans, so-called heretics during the witch trials and Inquisition, Jews and others they disfavored.

Peadawg
What are you smoking? The Chief Justice stated clearly that had this woman been in a nun’s habit she would not have been asked to remove her head covering. So if anything this new policy is intended to provide equal rights for those whose religious beliefs include the wearing of some type of head covering. It appears that previously there were de facto special rights for Christians (e.g. nuns). I also seriously doubt that a Jewish man would have been asked to remove his traditional yamulke. The policy ensures consistent and equal rights for all that visit Georgia courts.

tman

July 24th, 2009
4:21 pm

Would the POPE be allowed entrance into the Georgia Courts with that head peice on?

City Girl

July 24th, 2009
4:23 pm

All of us are subject to security. If the medal detector goes off, I’m sure they wouldn’t have a problem being searched like the rest of us. Let them wear their headscarves. They are fully aware of the rules and willing to comply.

[...] official ruling states: “Head coverings are prohibited from the courtroom except in cases where the covering is worn for [...]

Sharon

July 24th, 2009
5:03 pm

Whats the problem….if you can take a passport photo with exposing one ear….why can’t you can enter any government facility. Why are people making an issue over the Hijab. Before Christ ever existed….ALL women was covered (i.e., christian, jews and muslims).

Joel

July 24th, 2009
5:37 pm

WaitTheresMore:
I don’t like racists… And since this is the land of the free why don’t you go buy your own island and leave America!
I agree with our courts, but it is a shame that we have to have a ruling on head coverings, when only a hundred years ago women wore head coverings and that was that.

muslim4ever

July 24th, 2009
5:40 pm

It never ceases to amaze me that idiots are allowed to make some of the most ignorant statements. I’d rather see a woman in a headscarf instead of one with in clothing 1/2 revealing their boobs and belly button. The 1st Amendment allows Freedom of Religion…no matter what religion. Some people of the South needs to realize the “war is over.” Stop trying to start another one. If you don’t like these rights given to all American Citizens (there are TONS of Muslims that were born right here in America), then feel free to find another country to corrupt with your views.

All-mind

July 24th, 2009
5:42 pm

First the headscarf, next the Birka. What happens when someone wears a full birka in a bank and robs the joint? I guess common sense will prevail and all this bending over for Muslims will end then. They want to come to this country to flee tryanny and oppression but bring the same culture and ideology they left to their new country.

If you think we hate Muslims in the US, then how many Christian churches are in Saudi Arabia? None, because its illegal to be an infidel as Christians are called in that place, along with Afghanistan and Pakistan.

XXX

July 24th, 2009
5:42 pm

Hey WaitTheresMore.. As a muslim …let me first say that you are a Moron !
By the way.. incase you forgot …Hitler was a Christian … do you
hate & despise your father, mother and your self because they are Christinans. Racist Moron.

XXX

July 24th, 2009
5:44 pm

By the way .. If a Nun ever walked into my court .. Ill make sure I require her to take off more then her head cover… :)

SwedeAtlanta

July 24th, 2009
5:44 pm

Ref WaitTheresMore @ 5:06

What a piece of work you are

Please permit me to you a question. Do you claim to be a Christian? Chances are the answer is yes. If so your posting makes clear you are only a Christian in name and not substance. Christ taught you, in case you were listening to love one another – everyone.

Second, perhaps your statement that you hate Muslims is true for you but don’t assume this belief is shared by everyone. I definitely do not hate Muslims. I love them and respect them for their faith just as I do Jews, Hindus, etc. Even as a Christian I am more likely to be skeptical of those who pretend to be Christians but don’t know what their faith calls on them to believe and how to live.

You have no problem with racism. I think you confuse the word “race” with “religion”. Race has to do with your ethnicity – a biological trait based on genetics whereas religion defines you in terms of your spiritual beliefs. They are not synonymous. There are Christian Africans just as there are Buddhists among the Scandinavians.

We are not at war against a faith or a people. We are at war with religious extremists generally. We are at war with radical Muslims that perverse their faith by engaging in terrorist acts. We are just as much at war with radical Christians such as the faux-Christian that shot the abortion doctor. He is not a Christian both because he didn’t love the doctor as Christ commands us to do but also because he has judged the doctor. Christ commanded us to judge not lest ye be judged.

Don’t get me wrong. I am no apologist for the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks or the other cowardly acts of extremists across the world. I fully support our efforts to eliminate and marginalize them. But I equally oppose those who terrorize in Christ’s name.

The issue in this blog is about ensuring that everyone is treated equally in terms of acceptable head coverings in Georgia courts. Everyone is now to be treated equally. A Jewish judge will not be allowed to prohibit a nun from wearing the head covering that is part of her habit. A Muslim judge will not be able to prohibit a Christian prelate from wearing their traditional head covering. A Buddhist judge will not be able to prohibit a Jew from wearing a yamulke. A Christian judge cannot prohibit a Muslim woman from wearing a traditional head covering.

Oh and by the way even though I couldn’t disagree with your posting more, I love you as Christ taught me to love you.

Josh

July 24th, 2009
5:44 pm

Good ruling. They’re right that if a nun came into court they wouldn’t require her to remove her covering. As long as they can search to make sure it’s not hiding anything there’s no harm.

Langford

July 24th, 2009
5:56 pm

you bigots crack me up. Freedom of religion is freedom of religion whether you like it or not!

All-mind

July 24th, 2009
5:58 pm

Hitler was not a Christian, he was a Atheist and enlisted Muslims to kill Jews. Read you history XXX, you are a true fool. In history, Muslims have killed more Muslims that anybody else in the world. Your friend Saddam Hussein was an admirer of Hitler and use babies to clear land mines.

The Quran also states how to treat Christians and Jews, smite the throat.

SwedeAtlanta

July 24th, 2009
6:02 pm

Ref Allmind @ 5:42

All-mind…perhaps you should consider changing your nick to “No Mind”

People from around the world have come to this country. They represent races and belief systems as numerous as their number. They have come for various reasons. But they have come.

Now let’s compare the U.S. with say Saudi Arabia. What is the basic difference in terms of government? The U.S. is a secular Republic (not a democracy as many would have us believe) whereas Saudi Arabia is a theocratic monarchy. As a theocracy Saudi law emanates directly from religious law. No one disagrees that Muslim religious law isn’t draconian.

But let’s take another Muslim country – Turkey. Turkey, while majority Muslim, is a representative democracy, a member of NATO and a hopeful candidate for membership in the EU. Turkish law respects the practice of religion and there are Christians, Jews and other faiths openly worshiping in Turkey.

So don’t paint all Muslim nations with the same brush. You not only dishonor them but you also expose your ignorance.

Langford

July 24th, 2009
6:06 pm

And for those of you who think you are not bigots here is a definition to help you out!

Bigot

–noun
a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.

hmmmmmmmmm. sound like someone you know?

SwedeAtlanta

July 24th, 2009
6:16 pm

Ref WaitTheresMore @ all postings

Thanks for clarifying for me that you hate everyone. At least you are an equal opportunity hater. At least I’m not selected for special treatment. I’ve found hating makes my stomach hurt so I have definitely given it up.

JoJo

July 24th, 2009
7:16 pm

I applaude the judge, I am a catholic, There is nothing wrong if a woman covers herself for modesty, I think thats the way god would want it. All women should be protected against rapists and perverts, too many out there.

Darknight

July 24th, 2009
8:52 pm

Its rather strange that some bigots get all hot and bothered when people are actually given equal religious rights, and the funniest thing is Muslim Hijab is THE EXACT same tradition of Mary (Mother of Jesus), so the next time a bigot Insults some one for wearing a Hijab, maybe he should stop and pause and thing about what exactly he is insulting.

We live in the information age, peace and humanit will prevail when ignorance is removed.

michael

July 24th, 2009
11:14 pm

Like Darknight said, find me a single portrait of Mary that was painted in the pre-modern era that did not depict her with a scarf. Sounds to me like the Muslim women dress more like Mary than almost all of the Christians. Hmmmmmm…..

LisaM

July 25th, 2009
11:35 am

Absolutely, this is a ruling for ALL PEOPLE who choose to cover their head or hair, and it DOES allow for safety from idiots who try to sneak a weapon (or whatever) into the courtroom with a search that ANYONE ELSE may have to go through. To much ignorance replying to your blog, sir. And in fact, I believe you bring it on by using the qualifier “Muslim” in your title, when, in fact, all people who choose to cover are included, and many others besides Muslims are now protected in the courtroom. If only you had posted this note, as most other media outlets have, leaving off that adjective pointing out only one group that this ruling applies to.

Sabura

July 25th, 2009
5:42 pm

It has been absolutely awesome to read such intelligence and dignity expressed here. As history has taught us, hatred and intolerance never limits itself to one targeted group. If allowed to spread it consumes everything good and holy. Believers, regardless of their path to god (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc), understand that hatred doesn’t bring you closer to god. When we choose to focus on our own faith and respect the rights of others to be different, we will find greater peace in our hearts and in our world.

lee

July 26th, 2009
1:14 pm

In this internet age people are still as ignorant as they were during the middle ages. No churches in saudia arabia, sadam hussain clearing land mines with babies? What do you smoke? Saudia Arabia has christians and it has churches. Go do a little research. As for the baby remark, I’m not even going to reply to that, anyone with one bit of common sense can see what a big bs that is. Is this what the bigot’s religion teaches them, blind hatred? For all y’all information this country belonged to the native indians, and it was the christians who committed genocide against them and sold their land (read about Trail of Tears). This was the reward the christians gave to the indians after they taught these christians how to survive in this new land. Go read your 8th grade history book. If you have a problem with anyone in this country then you can go back to your country in Europe where ever you or your ancestors came from. This is not your country, people like you stole it!

Khaliah

July 27th, 2009
8:53 pm

No Matter what anyone says this was God’s decree. He has conrol over every thing not man. The Judge was incorrect for not allowing Lisa to practice her religious right and God had the last word.

mdr

July 28th, 2009
10:18 am

all muslims or any one else should ajust to the laws ways & means of the people born in the usa but the judges are not for the people … my hat is off to the judge in duglasville that said no he was right

creation of the creator

July 29th, 2009
12:38 am

i believe justice done here.

All-mind – brother i have answers to your questions.

July 24th, 2009
5:42 pm

“First the headscarf, next the Birka. What happens when someone wears a full birka in a bank and robs the joint?

If you think we hate Muslims in the US, then how many Christian churches are in Saudi Arabia? None, because its illegal to be an infidel as Christians are called in that place, along with Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

——–answers——–
1)dude that would be funny. birka lady robing a bank. btw if we do get to see a birka women rob a bank then how do u know there is a Muslim underneath the birka? i have seen man dress up as woman rob banks on tv. dressing up as a woman doesn’t make him a woman.

2) the reason arab country don’t have any churches is because …. ok I’ll give u an example. if you were a teacher, would you teach ur students 2+2= 6 or 2+2=4. of course if your in ur senses and educated then u’ll teach them 2+2=4. just like that, Arabs know that Islam is a true religion then why in the world would they teach Christianity and build churches in saudi?
FYI= the only thing Muslims don’t believe in is Partnership with God(Allah).

btw why do all countries have 1 president? why don’t they have 2,3 or even 10 presidents?
because if there be more then one ruler then the country/world would be in CHAOS.

Rod

August 26th, 2009
10:29 am

To all of those who say they need to remove the headgear. Do you mind taking off your cross from your neck or any religious items?

[...] matter of witnesses in niqab has arisen in Toronto ( in the context of a sexual assault case) in Georgia, and in Michigan, as outlined at feministlawprofessors.  Similar issues of idenification arise in [...]

Patrick

October 27th, 2009
2:42 am

It is amazing to me how many people have posted about how “America” is only for their rights and nobody else??? American rights have evolved over time at the request of its citizens. Easy to say Oh those Muslims, who are they to have rights also. We are talking about a piece of cloth which some seem to think means world domination and mass hysteria will follow. What the??? New policy addresses security and our lawmakers have agreed that it is fine to wear the scarf and whatever religious materials after inspection. I think I feel like converting because this headscarf has done put magic on me! Come on people!