DETROIT – Detroit police are facing a new federal lawsuit that says a Muslim woman was forced to remove her hijab for a booking photo at the Detroit Detention Center.

According to the lawsuit, Zainab Chaaban was forced to remove her hijab in front of male staff members inside the jail.

“I felt it was really something that hurt me. It mentally affected me,” Chaaban said.

Chaaban said the incident happened in April 2019. She was arrested by Detroit police for her involvement in a domestic situation with her husband. The case went to trial and she was found not guilty, she said.

“He kept pushing me, like slightly. I fell off the edge of the porch. I went, like, ‘Whoa.’ And I grabbed his arms. We both fell off the side of the porch. I hit my head and I hit my back,” she said. “I ended up being charged with domestic violence, felony assault, malicious destruction of building. We did a trial by jury and I was found not guilty.”

She said when she was taken for a mug shot she was forced to remove her hijab. The head covering is part of the Muslim religion and is traditionally worn when in front of any male person not in the wearers immediate family.

“When I went to the prison cell, they asked me to remove my scarf. I told them, ‘This is how you will identify me. With this scarf,’” she said.

She told them she wears it because of her religion but she said the officers removed it anyway. This violated her beliefs.

“It keeps happening and they’re not understanding that there are consequences. You don’t just violate a person and then it just goes away into thin air. You have to address these issues,” she said. “You have to bring them to light. This is something that is real. Islam is here. Islam is growing. Islam is here, it’s not going anywhere. They have to understand that there are laws and why we do things.”

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