Detroit Muslim Woman Granted New Hearing in Rental Case

Ginnnah Muhammad, the Muslim who lost her small-claims case in Hamtramck's 31st District Court in October because she refused a judge's order to remove her veil while testifying, has been granted a new hearing, the Associated Press reports.

The decision came after Ginnnah Muhammad of Detroit wore a scarf and veil that covers her head and face, leaving only the eyes visible, during a court hearing.

Muhammad was contesting a $2,750 charge from a rental-car company to repair a vehicle that she said had been broken into by thieves.

District Court Judge Paul Paruk told her he needed to see her face to judge her truthfulness and gave her a choice: take off the veil while testifying or have the case dismissed. She kept it on, and the judge ordered her to pay the rental car company, according to the Associated Press.

It is unclear whether Paruk will let Muhammad wear her niqab—a scarf and veil with a small opening for the eyes—at the Feb. 21 hearing. Paruk does not discuss cases before he hears them, said Connie Sacco, the court recorder and secretary.

Muhammad, of Detroit, said this week she plans to wear her veil again.

The same court granted the new hearing after Muhammad appealed. Muhammad successfully argued that she shouldn't have been forced to choose between her religious beliefs and her case.

The hearing will reconsider Paruk's order that Muhammad pay the rental car company for damages to the vehicle she rented and consider the company's countersuit against Muhammad, who has not yet paid.

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