Shakedown in Michigan After Muslim Woman Had to Remove Hijab for Mugshot
CAIR wins a jackpot.
As far as Michigan’s Oakland County Times is concerned, this was all about a Muslim woman being robbed of her dignity and having that dignity restored by means of a monetary settlement (the amount of which remains discreetly undisclosed). So all’s well that ends well, but there is more to this case than just dignity lost and restored: the Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has once again demonstrated that it has mastered the art of the shakedown.
The lost-and-found dignity in question was that of Helana Bowe, a hijab-wearing Muslim woman who was pulled over for a routine traffic stop on 8 Mile Road in Ferndale, Mich., in October 2021. According to the Times’ report, she was “subsequently arrested,” although the Times does not bother to explain why. After all, people who are stopped for speeding or running a red light and the like are usually given a ticket and sent on their way. But for some undisclosed reason, Helana Bowe was taken to the station and booked, and that’s where her troubles really began.
At the police station, according to the Times, Bowe “was searched by a male officer and had her hijab (Islamic head scarf) forcibly removed for the booking photo.” This “not only cost Helana Bowe her dignity,” but has now cost the City of Ferndale as well, as it has paid Bowe and CAIR to make the case go away. Nor will this ever happen again: CAIR’s Michigan chapter crowed that “the city of Ferndale and Bowe have reached a full and satisfactory settlement of this matter that involved the city instituting new policies allowing Muslim women to maintain their hijab when a booking photo is taken and prohibiting cross-gender searches in the absence of an emergency as well as a monetary settlement.”
CAIR-MI Staff Attorney Amy V. Doukoure was likewise exultant, saying: “We are pleased to announce this settlement and believe that the policies that Ferndale has put in place will help protect the religious rights of Muslim women who may find themselves in their custody. It is important to remember that the Constitution was written to protect those who are most vulnerable, and many of the rights protected by the Bill of Rights were enacted to safeguard our freedoms, specifically during interactions with law enforcement. Religious freedoms remain intact, even when facing arrest or incarceration.” The Bill of Rights! Religious freedoms! Who could possibly object?
A recent story from Australia illustrates why the celebrations of diversity might be a bit premature. The Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported on May 5 about a woman named Kailee Mitz, who was doing time in an Australian prison for trying to smuggle meth into the country. One day Mitz was minding her own business at Melbourne’s Dame Phyllis Frost Centre “when she was ambushed by Momena Shoma — a convicted Islamic militant — who tried to kill her with a pair of gardening shears that had been secreted in her headscarf.”
Now that the City of Ferndale is allowing hijabs to be worn in booking photos, who knows what might be hidden in them, and what violent incidents could result. Having people take off their headgear for mugshots is also a simple matter of ensuring accuracy of identification, but security issues have to give way when the multicultural ethos appears to be threatened.
There is some sensitivity training money involved in all this as well. Ferndale Police Community Engagement Officer Jill Mahlmeister said, “Since October, all city departments have undertaken cultural sensitivity trainings facilitated by the Islamic Networks Group (ING). ING, the chosen facilitator was selected by the City’s Racial Equity Action Team. City Manager Joseph Gacioch requested additional educr all city departments following the October incident.” And of course, the city has to pay for all this training.
All this has happened before. Last December in Minnesota, a Muslim woman was awarded $120,000 for having to remove her hijab for a jailhouse mugshot. CAIR indefatigably pushes the notion that Muslims are victims of widespread harassment and discrimination in the United States, and that asking Muslim women to remove their hijabs even for mugshots is an aspect of this harassment. Actual hate crimes against Muslims are so thin on the ground that they have to be manufactured. The removal of Helana Bowe’s hijab was really nothing more than a simple security issue, as well as a matter of precise identification. That should apply to everyone, not just to Muslim women, and is not due to “Islamophobia.” But these lawsuits are a cash cow for Hamas-linked CAIR and its clients.
So the ING, CAIR, and Helana Bowe all enjoy a financial bonanza, and Ferndale, Mich., residents are that much less safe. But diversity is saved. Go back to sleep.
Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 23 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is The Critical Qur’an. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.