A Muslim woman arrested during protests in Miami has allegedly been forced to remove her religious head cover at a correctional center and her mugshot has been taken without it, according to her lawyer, in an incident that has focused attention on questions about religious rights while in custody.
Alaa Massri, 18, was one of several people arrested on June 10 following demonstrations near the statues of Christopher Columbus and Juan Ponce de Leon in Miami. Lawyer, Khurrum Wahid, says Massri’s hijab is part of a sincerely held religious belief that she has and that it was removed against her will.
Massri claims officers forcibly removed her hijab after she didn't take it off for her booking photo. She says it was not returned to her for several hours.
A Miami station connected with Miami-Dade officials, who stated they have policies in place to accommodate inmates who wear head coverings for religious reasons.
“We are committed to ensuring that individual’s faith-based beliefs and practices are respected and will review this incident to ensure compliance with our policies and this commitment," the statement read.
The arrest during the current wave of protests against police brutality and racial injustice thrust into the spotlight an issue that has played out in different parts of the country over the years.