Following an incident where a Muslim woman from Ballwin was forced to remove her head scarf at the St. Louis County jail, columnist Ghazala Hayat writes that law enforcement need a finer understanding of Muslim culture.
The Ballwin woman was jailed after being arrested by St. Louis County Police in January because of a warrant related to an unregistered vehicle. Once at the jail, the woman reportedly was forced to remove her head scarf, also called a hijab, from the St. Louis chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. County representatives , and both parties were confident certain security procedures could be altered to avoid conflict with religious preferences, though the details of those changes have not been reported.
In a column published this week in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Hayat said many non-Muslims misunderstand the principles behind hijabs, which oftentimes are misconstrued by westerners as a sign of oppression:
Subjugation of women, mistreatment verbally and physically is a predicament for the whole human race, no matter what the faith or ethnic origin is. Denying a Muslim woman education or working outside the home is not dictated by Islam but a cultural practice albeit wrong one. This should not automatically label the dress of those women or their interaction with the society as being “oppressed”.
To read the complete column, click here.