Balch Springs, Texas (WiredPRNews.com) — A U.S. Federal Judge heard and dismissed a case on Monday involving a Muslim Detroit woman who claims that being forced to remove her veil in court caused her to lose her case.
In October 2006, 44-year old Ginnnah Muhammad donned a niqab — a traditional veil and scarf that covers the entire head and most of the face — during her hearing in which she was disputing a $3,000 fee from Enterprise Rent-A-Car to repair a vehicle which Muhammad claims burglars had broken into. According to the Associated Press, Judge Paul Paruk “told her he needed to see her face to judge her truthfulness and gave her a choice: Take off the veil or have the case dismissed.”
As per MLive.com,Margaret Nelson, Assistant state attorney general, represented Paruk and argued that “he needed to ‘fully observe’ Muhammad in order to properly determine the facts. ‘It was a temporary, necessary, limited action (that had) only incidental impact on the practice of her religion,’ Nelson said.”
Muhammad owns a skin-care product business, and told MLive.com that she loves America for the ability to openly practice religion, however, he urges the need to understand the accommodations for all parties involved. In the rules of Islam, Muhammad would have, in fact, removed her veil at the request of a female judge. For Tuesday’s hearing, Muhammad removed her niqab at security check-in as she was searched in a closed room by a female security guard upon entering federal court.
Muhammad states, “You shouldn’t have to change when you walk into a courtroom.”