2012/04/28 - 13:43
ISNA Pressure Pays Off as St.Louis Prison Allows Hijab in Jail
Navideshahed: Following intense criticism, pressure and scrutiny over it’s policy of making female Muslim inmates remove their hijabs - headscarves - the St. Louis County Jail has finally decided to change its search policies.
Last week, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) took to the media and the streets in opposition to recent incidents involving Muslim inmates being required to remove headscarves in front of male security guards and fellow inmates. The new policy is a much welcomed step in what community leaders believe is vital in building bridges between America’s Islamic community and the wider non-Muslim one.
"It was a very productive meeting," said Faizan Syed, the executive director of CAIR’s St. Louis chapter. "It really built bridges of understanding between us and [officials]."
The latest change now allows women to be searched in isolation with only a female guard observing her, allowing her to remove her headscarf and other relevant clothing without violating any sort of religious laws. After the briefing, women will be allowed to wear the hijab during the duration of their short-term jailing.
"We had a really good discussion," said Herb Bernsen, director of St. Louis County Justice Services. "We did agree on some measures we could adopt right away . . . that would satisfy our security concerns as well as the religious concerns."
The only real talking point currently is how to appropriately deal with those female inmates housed there for the long-term.
Source: Islam Today