NYPD Allows Muslim Women to Wear Hijab, Religious Coverings for Mugshots
On Tuesday, the New York Police Department had announced that they will no longer require Muslim women to remove their Hijab while taking mugshot photos.
The announcement stemmed from a federal lawsuit by two Muslim women against NYPD. The lawsuit filed by Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz claimed that they were forced to remove their hijabs after being arrested for a low-level charge. The women’s lawyer Albert Cahn, argued, “No one should be forced to undress just to be fed into a facial recognition database.” He added that he does not see any reason why Muslim women are allowed to wear their headscarves while applying for a driver’s license or passport, but barred from wearing it on mugshots.
Cahn continued by saying that it was completely “appalling” for women to be subjected to such kind of treatment. He also believed that the requirement had violated the “‘values of religious inclusion.”
However, the problem is that the policy also applies to other religious head covering such as wigs for the Orthodox Jews, turbans, and even burqa, an outer garment that covers the entire face and body. Moreover, police officers will also be trained to allow other Muslim prisoners to wear hijab as a way to protect their privacy and religious beliefs.
In the lawsuit, the two women claimed that the said requirement violated their First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, and Fourteenth Amendment. Based on their settlement, the NYPD agreed to allow Muslim women to follow the standard of modesty that was set by the Islamic tradition. The only exception is in searches for illegal weapons and contrabands.
In a statement, Patricia Miller, chief of the Special Federal Litigation Division of the New York City Law Department, the chief praised the changes as a “good reform.” Miller noted that it would provide a careful balance to protect people’s rights and religious beliefs. Miller even noted that the NYPD had set an example for other law enforcement departments across the country.
This had become a positive step for the NYPD, especially since they had faced massive accusations of police brutality and racism. In fact, Democrat and New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio supported the defund the police movement after he redirected a whopping $1 billion dollar from the NYPD to social development programs.