A Call to Action for Women of All Beliefs

Lisa Valentine's arrest on Tuesday is yet another example of the discrimination that Muslim women who wear hijab (headscarves) face on a daily basis. Valentine was told that she could not enter the courthouse in Douglasville, Georgia, unless she removed her hijab, and was jailed for contempt of court when she refused to do so. "I just felt stripped of my civil, my human rights," the AP reported Valentine saying. The ACLU of Georgia has expressed grave concern over policies that deny court access to Muslim women and followers of other faiths who wear religious headgear.

Muslim women and girls have been prohibited from wearing their headcoverings in a number of contexts. They have been fired from jobs, thrown off school sports teams, denied access to public places, and otherwise discriminated against because they wear hijab.

This isn't just a Muslim issue. This is also a women's rights and a human rights issue, because when Muslim women are denied the right to wear hijab, it's a statement that they are not free to choose how to express their beliefs. In a moving video we've just released, ACLU client, Jameelah Medina, spoke about her experience of being forced to remove her hijab in jail in San Bernardino County, California, and how it ignited her activism:

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"How many times have we experienced discrimination or hate because we're a woman, because we're a Muslim woman…? But we don't speak up, we just accept it, and we say, 'Someone else will do it; someone else will stand up and they'll make a difference, then I'll join that fight.' …I look forward to working with and… inspiring other women: whatever the issue is in your communities, that you stand up and say, 'I'm going to be the one.'"

Jameelah gave this inspiring speech at a conference sponsored in November by the ACLU Human Rights Program entitled, "Keeping Your Faith in Post 9/11 America: Religious and Ethnic Discrimination and Human Rights," where advocates and members of the Muslim community gathered to discuss the various rights violations that Muslims have faced in recent years. Jameelah also blogged recently on Feministing about what wearing hijab means to her and why being forced to remove it was such a violation of her rights as a woman, generating quite a lively discussion.

To learn more about Muslim women's rights and other hijab cases the ACLU has handled, check out www.aclu.org/muslimwomen.

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liberal hater

Ahh, poor little muslim women. Bless their little terrorist, I mean tiny hearts.

Who gives a goddamn about these third world refugees. When in America you act like a goddamn American. If you don't like it then go back to the rat whole that you and all of your Jew-hating, Christian hating kind crawled out of.

I'm goddamn sick of people from the most intolerant religion on earth coming in to our country and telling us that were racist and intolerant.

Go to hell all you left-wing liberals.

Hey ACLU, you say you believe in freedom of speech. Well let's see if you live my goddamn post up or if you censor it.

Concerned Citizen

Terrible. It's bad enough when violations like these occur in school or office settings... but one would think that in a courthouse or a police station, of all places, there would be some general awareness of and respect for the law and human rights. Such ignorance! Anyone who works in law enforcement/criminal justice, etc. should be required to attend trainings on this stuff! Women like Lisa Valentine and Jameelah Medina are incredible for standing up the way they have, but they shouldn't have to. I was glad to hear about the seminarians from Emery who were protesting. We all should be. Its an outrage. Furthermore... what is headgear? Isn't that what wrestler's wear? And why aren't we allowed to wear it in court? What, exactly, is the practical purpose of that rule?

Anonymous

This woman had a blatant Disregard for our judicial system.
Like so many other good Jihadist she is trying to hide behind her so called religion of peace.
The A.C.L.U. should be ashamed of themselves.
Why don't they come to the defense of someone like Ramos and Campeon or a great patriot like Cor.Gesani .
You are not for America you disgusting pigs.

Atheist

What is truly disgusting, Anonymous, is that hate mongers like you seem to think that you are representative of what it means to be an American. You obviously don't have a clue what it truly means.

As for you, liberal hater, if acting like an American means acting like you, I am ashamed to be an American.

I wonder how you hateful people, who are probably Christian, would feel if a Christian was told to remove a crucifix before entering a courthouse. And further, how you would feel if that person were then charged with contempt for not doing so.

Before either of you espouse what it means to be an American, perhaps you should do a bit of studying. Read the Constitution, specifically the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights. And once you have done so, if you still don't get it, then in my estimation, you are the ones who are unAmerican.

You cannot see past your own self- indulged agenda to realize that your perception of being an American is corrupted by your hatred and ignorance.

traumaqueen

Wow. "liberal hater" and "anonymous" where does all of your anger come from? Dont you know that it is unamerican to deny others the right to practice their religion? How does it hurt you if Muslim women wear the hijab? Just because you don't like another persons religion doesn't mean that they should not be allowed to practice it- that is what makes America great. You two sound so bigoted, I wonder do either of you profess to be Christian? If so, you should be ashamed.

True American

I don’t feel sorry for these muslim losers at all; rules are rules and they need to be followed regardless of who you are. For those of you that don’t like it, too bad, get out. When immigrants migrate to this country, they need to adapt to our way of life here in America and quit trying to change our customs and laws. When we don’t adapt to their customs and ways in this country and how they think life should be, we get accused of being intolerant and racist. If you don’t like this country and how we live, then leave and go back to the shit hole you came from and quit trying to change this country. That crap you muslim women wear on your head looks horrible and ugly.

Why are some people in this nation catering and defending to the muslims who hate America and our way of life? Some people in this country need to wake up to what’s going on and quit being so naïve and stupid. Look what’s been going on in Europe the past several years.

It’s the Islamic terrorists groups (muslims) that are responsible for most of the terrorism around the world including 9/11….those worthless bastards. They’re all burning in hell now along with the false prophet mohammad who is a nobody, a nothing and complete loser. Islam is not a religion of peace like some ignorant and uniformed people think, but a religion of complete hate and terror and these morons wonder why they have such a bad reputation. Down with Islam!!!!

We need to preserve our great nation and way of life and the hell with what foreigners and immigrants think or say. I’m sick and tired of people migrating to this country and trying to get us to change and alter our ways and customs. We should export all the muslims and send them to their so called holy land of Mecca and keep them there.

Air Mail

Funny, I do not remember the ACLU get upset about a Christian Woman getting fired from her job as a flight attendant for wearing a small Cross around her neck.

Well, apparentl...

To "Liberal Hater," "Anonymous," and "True American":

Have any of you EVER met a real Muslim? No, seriously, they are some of the most tolerant people on earth. Terrorists hijacked their religion, and now they have this horrible "crazed-extremist" reputation. I have never met a crazy extremist who was not a christian. Really, for all this talk about how they are "accusing" you of being intolerant and racist, they're RIGHT. If you were tolerant, you would change to help others fit into life here instead of attacking that which you clearly do not understand.

And if we didn't change as new people came in and as times changed, we would still have slavery, women would not be allowed to own property, we would discriminate against Irish people, Native Americans, the Polish, Jewish people, Catholics, and Quakers.

In almost certain likelihood this applies to you. Think about that.

Air Mail

Funny, the ACLU makes this a 'call to action' when a few years ago a Woman lost her job for wearing a small cross they didn't seem to care...

-Ed

Websters Dictionary defines Ignorance as a lack of knowledege, education, or awareness. So everyone of these Ignorant people making ignorant remarks offending this women need some education.

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