Aug 272009
 August 27, 2009  Posted by  Court, U.S.

The Michigan Supreme Court has permitted lower courts to use “reasonable control” over the appearance of those who arrive in court, effectively allowing judges to ban certain religious clothing. In an order [text, PDF] issued Tuesday, the court amended the Michigan Rules of Evidence [text, PDF], motivated by the 2006 case of Ginnah Muhammad. Muhammad had filed a suit in a Michigan small claims court where she was asked by Judge Paul Paruk to remove her niqab, a form of veil, so he could gauge her veracity. Muhammad refused, saying she would not take off her veil in front of a male judge, and her case was dismissed. Muhammad filed a federal lawsuit over the incident that was eventually dismissed [JURIST reports] in May last year. Also Wednesday, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced [press release] that it will file a federal lawsuit against another Michigan judge on behalf of a woman who was asked to remove her headscarf. CAIR lawyer Melanie Elturk said “the judge’s actions contradict both the constitutional right to freedom of religion and President Obama’s recent statement in support of the right to wear hijab.”

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