DEARBORN (WWJ/AP) – The city of Dearborn says a Muslim woman who accused police of forcing her to remove a headscarf has dropped her lawsuit.
Officials say an attorney for Maha Aldhalimi dropped the lawsuit when confronted with video evidence from the city’s investigation. In a statement Wednesday, the city says the allegations were “recklessly made.”READ MORE: Ribs RnB Music Festival Kicks Off This Weekend In Downtown Detroit
Aldhalimi had claimed her rights were violated when she was ordered to remove the headscarf, known as hijab, for a photo at the police department in 2014. She said she finally agreed to remove it under threat.
“We knew this lawsuit had no merit and are glad that the people we serve can have confidence that our officers acted properly in this case,” Police Chief Ron Haddad said in a statement.
Dearborn has one of the largest populations of Arab-Americans in the country. A message seeking comment from the woman’s attorney, Shereff Akeel, wasn’t immediately returned.
“Dearborn police remain committed to respecting the rights of all people within our custody and we follow a stringent policy regarding religious head coverings,” said Haddad.
In her lawsuit, Aldhalimi claimed that police officers forced her to remove her hijab following an arrest for an unpaid traffic ticket in the presence of several male officers.READ MORE: Judge Says Michigan Gov. Whitmer Won't Have To Testify In Abortion Lawsuit
Aldhalimi said she was crying while explaining that removing the scarf in front of male strangers would violate her religious beliefs, and that she finally agreed to remove it under threat.
As part of Muslim beliefs, the hijab — which, unlike the niqab or burka, covers the hair and neck but not the face — must be worn when in the presence of any males who are not family members.
“I am scared to leave my house now, and if I see a police officer when I am driving somewhere, I start shaking uncontrollably and turn in the opposite direction,” Aldhalimi said in the lawsuit.
This incident was similar to another that happened in Dearborn Heights — in which a 27-year-old Muslim woman said she was forced to remove her hijab while in custody for driving on a suspended license. She reportedly asked for a female police officer, but was told that one was not available. In July 2015, the Dearborn Heights Police department updated its policies on booking and photographing people who wear religious head coverings.
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