"if you want your religious headscarf then you shouldn’t protest" says Houston cop badge number 3362 as she rips off my hijab in public
So I have just gotten back from Houston protesting along side janitors who clean the offices of the world’s wealthiest companies for poverty wages. We were doing peaceful civil disobedience by sitting in an intersection to bring attention to the issue, we complied and were respectful when we were arrested.
Initially as I was processed in the gym two cops were talking to me. Upon learning I was Muslim and wore my headscarf for religious reasons [one cop actually wrote in my paperwork (headscarf religious reasons) and verbally confirmed that she wrote it down so people would know and I wouldn’t be bothered about it]. The other cop next to her asked me if I was fasting for Ramadan and I replied no and inquired how he knew it was Ramadan. He said it was because they received a diversity training.
After I was done I took five step to the side where they held the other female prisoners and where a female cop badge number 3362 started to fisk me and suddenly started taking off my scarf. This is the dialogue to the best of my memory there were plenty of protestors with me when this happened.
“Whoa, whoa, wait a second I wear my scarf for religious reasons, can’t you just feel my hair through it?” I said as I backed into the wall.
“No. If you want your religious headscarf then you shouldn’t protest,” she said as I was turned around pushed into the wall by her grabbing my neck and ripping my headscarf off in front of everyone. Later another jailer would say the exact same thing when they took my headscarf away for the entirety of being incarcerated.
The others were yelling at her to stop and cops started yelling at them telling them “She’s going to get charged!”
“You wouldn’t do this to a nun,” I told her and another cop who was looking at me as she violently fisked me. And I have been fisked, groped and padded down many a time via TSA since I am Muslim while flying.
My clothes were ajar and were placed immodestly around my hips. Later others would help me fix it as our hands were restrained behind our backs.
“It’s just procedure,” the cop looking on said to me.
“God gave you free will and no one can take that from you,” I replied.
She threw the scarf back on my head covering my face until the cop looking on told her to fix it and then it was covering my eyes.
Afterward I approached her seeing that she was upset. “Look, I just want to talk civilly with you about what just happened and since I can tell you are upset.”
She got defensive and started talking about procedure. “I understand it’s procedure. See, many faiths and cultures believe in covering the head. You taking off my scarf in public like that is like taking off my shirt in public.”
She replied that I could have been hiding a gun. I looked at her in disbelief. My scarf is made up of a light material and my hair is short. She ordered me to sit down and leave her alone.
Initially I felt upset and mad. But then I felt bad for her. I know system is to dehumanize and humiliate the people who don’t compile with the law but after thinking a long time I realized that when you treat others like beasts you become a beast. But being treated like a beast doesn’t mean I am one, I still have a choice, I can still reflect on the example of my Prophet during this holy Ramadan, I still can cultivate compassion and rise above.
this is my friend, and this happened in downtown Houston; in my own state.
Outrageous. The police are telling us we can have freedom of speech OR freedom of religion, but not both. I eagerly await all the Chick-fil-a supporters to come out to support this young woman as well.
Absolutely disgusting. The restraint and composure this woman had is incredible.