Muslim Woman Files Federal Lawsuit Against LAPD, Says Her Hijab was Forcibly Removed


A Muslim woman has filed a federal lawsuit against the LAPD accusing the department of detaining her and allegedly forcibly removing her hijab, or head scarf, which she says she wore in adherence to her religious beliefs.

It happened during a disturbance at a Police Commission meeting a year ago.

Nusaiba Mubarak, 26, had attended the meeting to speak out regarding an LAPD fatal shooting incident in 2018 when officers removed several people for exceeding public comment limits and other issues.

She said she committed no violation of Commission Rules but was escorted out with others anyway and then claims she was searched in a separate room by police officers.

By officers removing her head scarf without her consent Mubarak and her attorney, along with the Council on Islamic American Relations, contend the removal of her hijab was a violation of her First Amendment religious rights and Fourth Amendment rights.

According to the CAIR California press release: "Mubarak was then subjected to an intrusive physical search where her hijab was removed without her consent as she stood handcuffed and incapacitated. During the search and the hijab removal, an additional male officer remained in the room. Mubarak immediately informed the officer that her headscarf was worn for religious purposes and that it should not be removed in the presence of males and requested her hijab be replaced. The female officer dismissively replied, “Oh, just wait a minute,” while she continued to fill out paperwork for several additional minutes. During this time, Mubarak remained handcuffed, exposed, and humiliated."

“It is shocking that the Los Angeles Police Department, which serves thousands of Muslim women, would permit its officers to strip a Muslim woman of her religious head covering, which violates her Constitutional rights," CAIR-LA Civil Rights attorney Dina Chehata said.

KNX 1070 News contacted LAPD Media Relations Section, who said they were not aware of the situation or the lawsuit and it is department policy not to comment on pending litigation.

I cannot thank @BLMLA and @cairGLA enough for supporting me through all of this. Thank you so much ❤️ If this has happened to you, if your religious rights were violated by law enforcement, please call CAIR right away. 9/

— Nusaiba Mubarak (@Nusi22) September 17, 2020

CAIR-LA and the CAIR National Legal Defense Fund today announced the filing of a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of a Muslim woman who had her religious head scarf (hijab) forcibly removed by Los Angeles Police Department officers.

— CAIR - Greater Los Angeles (@cairGLA) September 17, 2020