Decision Awaited in Religious Veil Case

When Ginnah Muhammad sued an auto rental company after it attempted to charge her more than $2,000 for damage to the car caused by thieves, the district judge in Hamtramck, Mich., dismissed her case, the Detroit Free Press reported.

District Judge Paul Paruk asked Muhammad, a devout Muslim, to remove her veil to testify. Muhammad refused but said she would remove her veil and testify before a female judge; however, Paruk is the only district judge in Hamtramck. After Paruk dismissed her case, the car rental company countersued and won, according to the Detroit Free Press.

Muhammad’s attorney, Nahib Ayad, felt that Paruk violated Muhammad’s religious rights and denied her access to the court system. Ayad took the case to federal court on April 29.

The Detroit Free Press article said that the Michigan Attorney General’s Office filed a motion asking that Muhammad’s suit against Paruk be dismissed on the grounds that federal judges have no authority to review the validity of state court judgments, that judges have immunity for their decisions, and that the order to remove the veil did not interfere with Muhammad’s ability to practice her religious beliefs.

U.S. District Judge John Feikens said that he would issue a written decision in the case but did not say when he might rule or what action he would take, said the Detroit Free Press.

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