Muslim woman sues San Bernardino County for having to remove her hijab when she was arrested

 Los Angeles Times

A 29-year-old Muslim woman sued San Bernardino County and its sheriff Wednesday, alleging that deputies violated her rights by forcing her to remove the head scarf she wears because of her religious beliefs.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California filed the complaint on behalf of Jameelah Medina in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana -- accusing the county and the Sheriff's Department of breaching Medina's right to practice her religion as well as a 2000 federal law enhancing protections of prisoners' religious liberty. She was arrested in 2005 for carrying an invalid Metrolink pass.

Cindy Beavers, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department, said she could not comment.

"I can tell you that anybody who comes in wearing any type of head covering -- they would have to remove it at the time of booking and that would be for security purposes," Beavers said.

As Medina was being booked and searched at West Valley, Medina told a female sheriff's deputy she could not remove the head scarf, known as a hijab, for religious reasons. The deputy threatened to delay Medina's release if she did not follow orders, the complaint says.

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