Woman sues Oceana Co. over removal of hijab

HART, Mich. (WOOD) — A federal lawsuit claims the Oceana County Sheriff’s Department violated a Muslim woman’s religious rights by forcing her to remove her head scarf, and then not letting her put it back on for three hours.

The federal lawsuit was filed June 9 by Fatme Dakroub. She says she is a U.S. citizen who currently lives in the United Arab Emirates.

Dakroub claims she was in Oceana County visiting family on May 15, 2015 and rented a Jeep at the dunes. She says she was stopped for speeding by an Oceana County Sheriff’s deputy and arrested.

At the jail, three male deputies were present at booking. Dakroub says she was told she had to remove her hijab. She says she wears it in accordance with her religious beliefs that are based on the understanding of the Quran.

Dakroub also believes she must keep her head, hair, ears, neck and chest covered while in the presence of men who are not her family.

According to the lawsuit, Dakroub told the deputies that she wears the scarf for religious reasons and asked that a woman handle the booking process. She claims they said it was not possible. She then asked if only one man could be present instead of three, a request that was also denied.

Dakroub claims they made her remove the hijab and wouldn’t let her put it back on.

She says she sat in a cell with her head uncovered near male inmates who made advances toward her.

Dakroub claims the sheriff’s department and the deputies violated her religious rights.

Tuesday, Sheriff Robert Farber told 24 Hour News 8 over the phone that his department respects everyone’s civil rights. However, he would not comment further on the lawsuit, claiming he has yet to be served.

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