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Jannah Hague sued Kent County over forced removal of hijab

05 Jan 2024, Jail News, by

Jannah Hague sued Kent County, claiming her constitutional rights were infringed when she was forced to remove her hijab for a booking photo.

Jannah Hague sued Kent County over forced removal of hijab - Inmate Lookup

Jannah Hague, a Muslim woman from Grand Rapids, initiated a lawsuit against Kent County. The lawsuit alleges that in April of last year, in violation of her religious and constitutional rights, she was compelled to remove her head covering for a jail booking photo.

Hague, seeking punitive damages exceeding $75,000, claims to have experienced humiliation and trauma.

According to the 29-page lawsuit, Hague was informed that she had no option but to remove her hijab for the photograph.

Amy Doukoure, Staff Attorney for the Council on Islamic American Relations of Michigan, clarified that the focus was specifically on the hijab, distinguishing it from a face covering.

Doukoure explained that Muslim women wear headscarves covering their hair, ears, and neck, emphasizing their significance as a form of modesty and beauty concealment.

The lawsuit claims that Kent County’s request violated Hague’s First Amendment rights and was a severe violation of the wearer’s deeply held religious beliefs.

Kent County officials maintain that they followed the law and made extensive efforts to accommodate Hague during the booking process.


Sheriff’s Department statement

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department released a statement explaining that, during the arrest processing in early April 2023, a female corrections officer took Hague out of view of male officers and inmates. Hague was asked to remove her head covering for inspection to ensure no weapons or restricted material were present, and she was then allowed to put it back on before entering the booking area.

The statement also mentioned that the photograph taken at the end of the booking process was taken with precautions to prevent any male officers or inmates from viewing Hague without the head covering. The entire booking process is recorded in video and audio.

The lawsuit also seeks an injunction to prevent the Kent County Sheriff’s Office from requiring the removal of head coverings for future booking photos.

Hijabs are permitted for driver’s license photos in the state of Michigan.

The Department of State permits hijabs in passport photos taken in the United States for religious reasons.

In 2015, Dearborn Heights, Michigan, reached a settlement in a lawsuit with a Muslim woman. As a result, a new department policy was implemented, which no longer mandates Muslim women to remove their religious head coverings for booking photos.