Two Muslim women drive NYPD to change its practice of forcefully removing the hijab

first_img– Advertisement – According to the Associated Press, while Clark and Aziz began as the initial plaintiffs of the federal lawsuit, multiple women joined them, reiterating the same story of forced hijab removal. According to the legal decision, the new policy now requires NYPD officers who question or arrest a person with religious attire to “take [a] photograph of [the] prisoner with religious head covering in place.” Exceptions to the policy are very limited and include only cases in which religious attire covers the face, for example, a burqa—which would have to be removed for full facial features to be captured.“This is a milestone for New Yorkers’ privacy and religious rights. No one should be forced to undress just to be fed into a facial recognition database. New Yorkers are able to get a drivers’ license or passport while wearing the hijab, and there’s absolutely no reason for it to be removed by police,” STOP’s Executive Director Albert Fox Cahn said in a statement. STOP represented both Clark and Aziz in their proceedings. “Now that the NYPD has agreed to end the policy, they still need to go a step further. That’s because this settlement doesn’t address the thousands of New Yorkers who were subjected to this unlawful policy. That’s why we’re still fighting in court to make sure the NYPD pays for the harm its already inflicted.”- Advertisement – Incidents of forced hijab removal have occurred throughout the U.S. for years. Women have not only been forced to remove their hijab but made to receive their headscarves outside of police department buildings, where the public can see them. Additionally, some women have reported being forced to wear short-sleeved clothing when other options were available. In a country where religious freedom is guaranteed, no one should be forced to remove religious covering nor fear wearing it. If other government identifications can be taken without the removal of religious coverings, such as licenses, mug shots and other photos should not result in the practice of discrimination. Photos depicting one’s facial features can be taken without interfering with religious freedom.center_img xWe may have ended this policy, but we’re still fighting in court to get justice for those victimized by the NYPD in the past. Help us continue the fight to compensate the thousands of New Yorkers already mistreated and harassed by the #NYPD.https://t.co/IUJE623X1Q— S.T.O.P.—Surveillance Technology Oversight Project (@STOPSpyingNY) November 10, 2020The New York City Law Department special federal litigation chief, Patricia Miller, also saw the policy change as “good reform.” She noted that such a change serves as a model for other aspects of the country. “It carefully balances the department’s respect for firmly held religious beliefs with the legitimate law enforcement need to take arrest photos and should set an example for other police departments in the country,” Miller told the AP.For years the department had no official policy and left removing religious attire for mugshots up to the discretion of officers—who sometimes removed them and sometimes did not. This policy change is not the first the NYPD has made as a result of religious discrimination. According to The New York Times, a lawsuit filed in 2016 resulted in the department allowing officers to wear turbans and grow beards for religious reasons.- Advertisement –last_img

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