A Minnesota Muslim criminal has received a $120,000 cash reward after she refused to remove her hijab for a mugshot while detained at a jail in Ramsey County.
Aida Shyef Al-Kadi, a 57-year-old Muslim woman, claimed that it was “one of the most humiliating and harmful experiences” to remove her headwear like any other inmate would be required to do.
“I knew that I did not want any other Muslim woman to experience what I did,” she said at the Minneapolis headquarters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) last week to announce the settlement.
Al-Kadi was booked after missing a court appearance regarding a traffic offense. She claimed that she had to take her daughter to the hospital and that is why she missed the hearing.
“She made it clear from the beginning that this case wasn’t about looking backward, it was about looking forward and standing up not only for herself, but for the broader Muslim community; and standing up for the broader Muslim community is precisely what Ms. Al-Kadi did,” said Caitlinrose Fisher, who is one of Al-Kadi’s attorneys.
After Al-Kadi turned herself in, she was told to take off her hijab and abaya, which is a long traditionally Muslim dress covering her body. She objected to the practice initially, but eventually complied. She claimed this was an infringement of her Constitutional rights.
Al-Kadi whined that her mugshot appeared on a third-party website that charges a fee to remove them, and that she was forced to wear a jail uniform while she was behind bars like the rest of her fellow inmates.
“We believe that this settlement agreement is fair and in the best interests of all of our residents. Ramsey county’s values hold that the rights, beliefs, well-being and dignity of all our residents are protected and honored in all aspects of what we do,” said Jim McDonough, who is Ramsey County board chair, in a statement last week.
“The practices outlined in the agreement to improve the booking process for those with religious head coverings better reflect these values,” he added.
U.S. District Court Judge John Tunheim ultimately approved the settlement. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office noted that nobody will be disciplined for their treatment of Al-Kadi because “their actions were in accordance with existing policy.”
“The policy, at the time, mirrored those for jails and correctional facilities around the region,” said Chief Sheriff’s Deputy David Metusalem. “Shortly after this issue was raised, policies were modified and there have not been any problems since.”
Jaylani Hussein, executive director of CAIR in Minnesota, cheered on the “six years of courage and determination by Ms. Al-Kadi, who has fought not only for herself, but for Muslim women to be dignified and treated with respect when they encounter law enforcement.”
“Our faith asks us to stand against oppression either with our hearts, our tongues by speaking out and with our hands,” said Asma Mohammed, advocacy director for Reviving the Islamic Sisterhood for Empowerment.
“Aida did all of those things. She didn’t just do this for herself, she did this because she knew that moving forward, other Muslim women deserve dignity when they are detained, that they deserve dignity no matter where they are,” Mohammed added.
Creeping Sharia law is on the rise with different legal standards being applied to individuals adhering to the Islamic faith. Anti-Semitic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has to be very happy at this decisions and the implications it will have throughout the nation.
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