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Islamic advocacy group urges ‘hijab-friendly’ policies in U.S. prisons

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The Council on American-Islamic Relations is urging all local and federal U.S. prisons to adopt more "hijab-friendly' policies by allowing Muslim women to wear headscarves during their detention and in photos.

"I'm working on several pending cases in different states ... and I'm in touch with an attorney for the Department of Justice's Office of Civil Rights," Nadhira al-Khalili, legal counsel for CAIR, told Al Arabiya.

According to the executive director of CAIR's Michigan chapter, Novi recently became the first locality in Michigan to officially adopt the policy.

"There are other accommodations in other localities in Michigan for Muslim females to keep their hijab during detainment. However, Novi is the first locality in Michigan that has made it an official policy," Dawud Walid told Al Arabiya.

"If hijab is allowed in the military, and U.S. driving licenses permit women IDs with hijab, then the same logic can be applied," Mr. Walid said. "Hijab doesn't impede the identity of women."

The group admits that a uniform policy is unlikely.

"The courts generally don't want to intervene in the professional judgment of a sheriff. Some courts have ruled that when security is a concern, safety should override a religious practice. Other courts have ruled in favor of Muslim women who want to wear hijab," Mr. Khalili told Al Arabiya.

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