CALIFORNIA — Eighty-five thousand dollars ($85,000) is the amount that the city of Long Beach, California, agreed to pay in the settlement of a lawsuit launched by a Muslim woman who says her hijab was removed from her head by a Long Beach police officer when she was arrested more than two years ago.
Her name is Kirsty Powell, and she was pulled over by a police officer in 2015. In the car with her, at the time, was her husband.
During the traffic stop, police ran her name and learned that Powell had three outstanding warrants for her arrest. She was immediately arrested.
While being placed under arrest by the police officer, Kristy Powell claims the officer, who was male, forced her to remove the hijab she was wearing. Hijabs, which look like headscarves, are often worn by Muslim women.
Powell claims she told the male officer that she wanted a female cop to arrest her and that she wanted to continue wearing the hijab while in custody. The male police officer rejected both of her requests.
In retaliation, Powell filed a civil rights complaint against the city of Long Beach.
The confrontation between the police officer and Powell resulted in the Long Beach Police Department reviewing its policies. In November 2016, the police department amended its policy to allow an arrested person to wear a religious head covering except when safety concerns may be involved.
To add to the political correctness that cops must now follow when making arrests, the Long Beach City Council decided to settle the lawsuit with Powell by paying her a whopping $85,000 for her hijab being removed.
The decision to settle was proudly announced by the greater Los Angeles area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
“I would never want anyone to go through what I felt from this experience,” Powell said at the time the suit was filed. “I want my Muslim sisters to always feel comfortable and safe wearing a hijab and to stand up for what’s right.”
ABOUT the HIJAB
Hijab is an Arabic word meaning barrier or partition. In Islam, however, it has a broader meaning. It is the principle of modesty and includes behavior as well as dress for both males and females. The most visible form of hijab is the head covering that many Muslim women wear. Hijab, however, goes beyond the head scarf.
Most often, it is worn by Muslim women as a symbol of modesty and privacy. According to the Encyclopedia of Islam and Muslim World, modesty in the Quran concerns both men’s and women’s “gaze, gait, garments, and genitalia.” Some believe that the Qur’an itself does not mandate that women wear hijab.
The niqab goes a step further. It is a veil for the face that leaves the area around the eyes clear. However, it may be worn with a separate eye veil. It is worn with an accompanying headscarf.
The burka is the most concealing of all Islamic veils. It is a one-piece veil that covers the face and body, often leaving just a mesh screen to see through.
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