scarf equals no entry to court

Discussion in 'Off-topic' started by legacy38, Jul 2, 2007.

  1. legacy38

    legacy38 Active Member

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    http://www.valdostadailytimes.com/local ... 34523.html

    Published June 30, 2007 11:45 pm -

    Muslim denied entrance to court


    By Kelli Hernandez

    VALDOSTA — A Muslim woman seeking to contest a simple speeding ticket was denied access to the Valdosta courtroom of Municipal Court Judge Vernita Lee Bender because she was wearing a traditional Islamic head scarf.

    The day of her hearing, 20-year-old Aniisa Karim said she walked in the front doors of the Municipal Court building and was told that she would not be permitted to enter the courtroom with her scarf on even after she explained to the security officer that she is not permitted by her religion to remove the scarf in public. Karim said the officer called for his lieutenant, who affirmed the decision that Karim would be barred from the courtroom unless her scarf was removed.

    “I said, ‘No, I’m Muslim, and like I told (the first officer) I wear this for religious reasons and if you don’t allow me in the courtroom with my scarf on basically you are violating my civil rights and my right to a free religion because this is my religion,’†Karim said.

    Karim said one of the officers told her that the denial of entry to the courtroom was due to “homeland security reasons†and that allowing her to enter would show “disrespect†to the judge, though Karim offered to walk through the metal detectors and allow the officers utilize the handheld metal detector to scan the scarf.

    Karim said she asked the officers what she was supposed to do about her ticket since she was not removing the scarf in public. The officers then called out a court clerk who told Karim that she would be permitted to reschedule her hearing for a future date, though she would still not be permitted to wear her scarf into the courtroom at that time.

    According to Karim, her only option was to plead nolo contendere and pay the $168 fine since that process could be

    completed in the lobby without entering the courtroom.

    Through the clerk of court, Judge Vernita Lee Bender communicated an apology for the denial of entry stating “we have rules that everyone has to follow,†according to Karim.

    Following the advice of a family friend who is an attorney and also Muslim, Karim contacted the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group.

    In response to Karim’s story, the Washington-based group wrote a letter to Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker which stated, “We assert that Judge Bender’s actions violated the Georgia Code of Judicial Conduct, which states: ‘Judges shall perform judicial duties without bias or prejudice. Judges shall not, in the performance of judicial duties, by words or conduct manifest bias or prejudice, including but not limited to bias or prejudice based upon race, sex, religion, national origin, disability, age, sexual orientation or socioeconomic status, and shall not permit staff, court officials and others to subject to judicial direction and control to do so.’â€

    CAIR added that under Title III of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the courtroom should be considered a “public facility†and denial of access to the courtroom based on religious beliefs or practices is therefore discriminatory.

    “In addition, we believe Judge Bender’s actions are in violation of First and Fourteenth Amendment rights to freedom of religion and equal protection under the law. Two state supreme courts have ruled that government must show compelling state interest in preventing religious head coverings in a courtroom. Obviously, we believe that no such compelling interest exists in this case,†CAIR stated in the letter.

    CAIR requested that Baker “take appropriate action to ensure that the legal, religious and civil rights of Georgians of all faiths be maintained.†The group also asked for a formal apology from Bender and a written assurance that Karim and all others wearing religious attire be allowed in her courtroom.

    “I feel like in the year 2007 things like this should not happen any more,†Karim said. “Of course everyone doesn’t know everything about different religions, but if I tell you, ‘I’m Muslim this is a part of my religion,’ I feel like if you are a public officer you should be educated enough to know.â€

    Karim stated that she hopes that as a result of the incident public officials will be more educated about different religions and different people so that others’ rights are not violated.

    Bender forwarded all questions regarding the incident to City Attorney Tim Tanner, who stated that he was not prepared to discuss the incident until he has the opportunity to review all of the details.
     
  2. Mobster989

    Mobster989 New Member

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    Did they site any rule or policy to refuse her entry? Couldn't they just get a female officer and have her take off the scarf in a private room if there was concern she was hiding a weapon? I don't understand the reason they wouldn't allow her in.

    Pleading the 1st amendment, I don't think that'll work. The 2nd amendment stops at the courthouse parking lot in Georgia, she's lucky she made it inside with her 1st intact. :roll:
     

  3. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    OOOOOHHHHH NO!

    I refuse to let this country go the way of Britain and screw everything up by letting muslims do as they please. Your religion says you have to wear a mask, eh? Well my religion says I need at least a pistol, if not a homeland defense rifle, on me at all times. But I can't go to court with either, so neither can you.
    Take it off or leave. Thems the breaks.
     
  4. tj2000

    tj2000 New Member

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    I AGREE..................

    I have to agree with Ramm on this one.
    In todays thinking, the constitution is out dated. I do think it is interesting how those that think that way get all upset when things don't work to their way of thinking.
    Why should the court have to provide any special place or officer to protect her rights when they don't provide a secure place for my weapon when I go to court, they say I can't bring it in or even on the property.
     
  5. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Now, I know you are not referring to Luke 22:36. :lol:
     
  6. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    What's next? KKK members get to go into court with their robe and hood?
     
  7. wsweeks2

    wsweeks2 New Member

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    Great point. What's good for the goose is good for the gander.
     
  8. gunsmoker

    gunsmoker Lawyer and Gun Activist

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    Her Right

    If a Muslim's dress creates a security issue, such that you can't tell if she may be hiding a weapon under that scarf, or robe, or head-dress, then our government should have a reasonable accomodation for her. She might have to bear some inconvenience and delay, but ultimately she should not have to expose her face and neck in public if that's clearly against her religion, and it's a genuinely-held belief, not just some made-up B.S.

    They could run the metal-scanning wand over her covered areas, or ask to to show herself in a private setting. If she were to then cry about discrimination, I'd say "TOO BAD." But at this point, she's being reasonable and the court security personnel are not. They must respect her "Free Exercise of Religion" rights per the 1st Amendment.

    Now this is a totally different situation from the muslim woman from Florida who wanted her driver's license photo to be taken while her face was fully covered except a little slit she would look through. The purpose of a driver's license photo is to show identity and to distinguish one person from another, and thus the photograph would be worthless unless she did have to show her face both at the time she posed for the photo and again at any time she offered that license as proof of her identity.
     
  9. Sharky

    Sharky New Member

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    I have been on the fence with this topic.

    I am sorry if this strays a bit but I think it kind of pertains to this topic from a discrimination or profiling standpoint.

    I was watching a documentary regarding Pearl Harbor. Yes it was the military channel and they were interviewing survivors of that day. They were very upfront about discriminating against the Japanese culture. Many of them share the same feeling after that day and even today (the few that are still alive). They will never trust a memeber of that race because of the events of that day. Does that make them bad people? I am not sure......

    I AM NOT SAYING THATS HOW I FEEL, JUST SAYING ITS A POINT OF VIEW.

    Now in this situation, we have experianced 9-11 in our generation. Of course these were extremists but they carry themselves in the same attire. We hear of suicide bombing carried out by women and children forced into carrying out the same acts. Just because it is a metal detector do all the courts have the ability to detect explosives as you walk in?

    Do we have to profile, to help achieve security standards? I know when you board a plane they make me take off my shoes, my belt, my jacket, heck I am almost strip searched! (well maybe not that bad)

    Do we need to institute these standards in all government buildings to assure safety?
     
  10. moga

    moga New Member

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    notwithstanding popular passions...

    A Klan member's robe and hood is a costume. The muslim hijaab or a jewish yarmuka is a part of one's religious practice. To deny the wearer of a hijaab (or yarmuka or Christian cross about one's neck, etc.) entry into a courtroom is a violation of the first amendment, as the practice violates the free exercise of religion. End of story.

    We can't begin to compromise on when and where the law is applied or whom is afforded its protection. Else our laws won't amount to a hill of beans and our great country will suffer. If not as Americans, then as RKBA advocates, we should do all we can to protect uphold the integrity of our constitutional protections instead of encouraging their demise and eventual obsolescence.
     
  11. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Does the Jewish yarmuka do this?
     
  12. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Of did this hijab not hide her face?
     
  13. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    I see nothing wrong with banning guns inside a courtroom either. However, if we allow such activity under the guise of a First Amendment claim, would not a religion that really believes they must have a rifle at all times not fall under the First and Second Amendments? What if in three hundred years from now such an activity IS a sacred, genuinely held religious belief? Do we say, "well....it is a security risk, but he is covered under the First."?

    I understand why guns are not allowed in court rooms. It is a question of security. Full on head dresses that cover all but the eyes are also, equally, a question of security.
     
  14. Rammstein

    Rammstein New Member

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    Re: notwithstanding popular passions...

    A cross worn around the neck and a yarmulke and worlds apart from a garment that covers the wearer from head to toe and only reveals the eyes.

    This is not compromising on legal protections. This is being prudent.
     
  15. M249

    M249 New Member

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    I have not problem with the head scarf... First amendment and all. Covering the face, however, is a no-no.

    Nobody can argue that covering of the face is a requirement of Islam, either... unless, of course, she's married to Muhammed. But it's my understanding that he's been dead for a while.
     
  16. Malum Prohibitum

    Malum Prohibitum Moderator Staff Member

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    Well, if she was not covering her face, then I may change what I say. Anybody know?
     
  17. wsweeks2

    wsweeks2 New Member

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    God I hate this phrase, but if there is a "compelling state interest" to disarm someone who has undergone a background check in the interest of safety, why would we allow anyone the means to smuggle something by someone who has not undergone the same investigation? If I have to apply for the privilege guaranteed me in the Bill of Rights, then others should have to jump through the hoops as well. Additionally, is conducting a security search preventing her from practicing her religion in any way? They could tell me I can't wear a crucifix in the courtroom and I'd be okay with it. Religion is what you believe - and no one told her what to think.
     
  18. budder

    budder Moderator Staff Member

    It's really a question of where we draw the line. How do we determine which religious practices shouldn't be allowed in the courtroom?

    I'm all for letting this woman into the courtroom with a covered head, but does that also mean that we must allow Sikhs to carry their Kirpans with them in court? Or should we force them to bring in blunted versions (which is what Sikh children have to do in schools)? How does this differ from a religion that requires a gun? Just because a religion is older than any other doesn't make it any more right.