A Muslim woman who lost a small-claims suit in Hamtramck district court in 2006 after she refused to remove her religious veil during testimony took her case before a federal judge today, hoping to overturn the district judge’s decision and establish precedent in eastern Michigan courtrooms.
But after 30 minutes of legal arguments, U.S. District Judge John Feikens said that he would issue a written decision in the case. He gave no indication of when he might rule, but hinted through questions to lawyers that he may take no action at all, which lawyers conceded he could do under Supreme Court decisions.
To get into the courthouse today, Ginnah Muhammad had to remove her veil and show a photo ID. She had to remove her veil in a private area in the presence of a female court security officer and show her Michigan license, which contains her photo. After court, Muhammad and her attorney, Nahib Ayad, said she routinely is required to remove her veil in the presence of female security officers when she goes to airports, and is accommodated by female officers.
“If the judge rules in our favor, it would preclude other judges from doing the same thing to others,” Ayad, of Plymouth, said Monday. “It is one of those cases that probably will go to the U.S. Supreme Court.” Ayad said he would appeal if the decision goes against his client.