Muslim Woman Sues Michigan Police For Making Her Remove Her Headscarf

| by Mackenzie Fleming

A Muslim woman in Michigan who was allegedly forced by police to remove her Islamic headscarf after she was arrested for a parking violation filed a lawsuit on June 30 against the city of Dearborn.

Maha Aldhalimi of Wayne County was arrested on Sept. 15, 2014, after police first noticed her car parked in a no-parking zone outside a  Wal-Mart. A warrant for Aldhalimi’s arrest due to an unpaid parking violation was revealed when police checked the license plate and registration number.

After being taken to the police station, Aldhalimi claims that despite her pleas, the officer ordered her to remove her hijab for her booking photo. Crying, Aldhalimi tried to explain to officers why she could not remove the headscarf.

According to, Aldhalimi said she told the male officers that removing the hijab would violate her religious beliefs. When her son arrived at the police station, he confirmed his mother’s statements and beliefs and reiterated to officers that she could not remove it in front of strangers.

The lawsuit states the officers disregarded her concerns and ordered her “to remove her hijab or it would be removed involuntarily against her will.”

Aldhalimi said she "was shivering and crying from the humiliation and distress of the encounter and orders."

Following the officer’s continued threats, she reluctantly removed the headscarf.

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit with the Michigan chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, reported USA Today.

This is the most recent complaint against the Dearborn police of a Muslim woman forced to remove their hijab by police or to seek services, but it is not the first. According to, several separate lawsuits were filed this year against both the Dearborn Heights Police and the Oceana County Sheriff by Muslim women wearing a hijab.

Dearborn police said in a court filing this year they have the right to remove a hijab for security reasons, reported USA Today. The city of Dearborn did not comment on the lawsuit or their policies on Muslim women who wear a hijab when they are in police custody.

Source: USA Today,

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons