Court: Jailers erred in removal of Muslim’s scarf

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A federal appeals court says Southern California jailers violated the religious freedom of a Muslim woman who was ordered to take off her head scarf in a courthouse holding cell.

An 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously reinstated a civil rights lawsuit Tuesday filed by Souhair Khatib in 2007 against Orange County.

Khatib was jailed for several hours in November 2006 after a judge revoked her probation from a misdemeanor welfare fraud conviction. Probation was reinstated the same day and Khatib was released from jail.

A trial court judge and a three-judge appeals court panel previously dismissed the lawsuit, saying that holding cells aren’t covered by a federal law protecting inmates’ religious practices.

But the 11 judges rejected that argument and ordered Khatib’s lawsuit to proceed.

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