New York: $17.5 million awarded to Muslim women forcibly exposed by police

New York: $17.5 million awarded to Muslim women forcibly exposed by police

$17.5 million! If it is as inexpressible as it is indecipherable, the terrible humiliation inflicted on veiled Muslim women to pose in criminal identification photos now has a cost on the other side of the Atlantic: the staggering cost that the City of New York has just agreed to pay 3,600 of them, forcibly revealed by the police.

These magnificent damages, commensurate with the odious trivialization of disclosure under duress, were obtained through a hard struggle by the two leading figures in their fight for the preservation of their fundamental rights: Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz.

Photographed in front and in profile, but without their headgear, these two American litigants never recovered from the particularly mortifying, traumatic ordeal that constituted their face-to-face, behind closed doors, with the new police. Yorkie. In 2018, they decided to take the lead by filing a class action on the grounds of “the humiliation suffered, the violation of their rights and the attack on freedom of religion”.

Jamilla Clark (left) alongside Arwa Aziz

When they forced me to take off my hijab, I felt like I was naked. I'm not sure words can express how exposed and violated I felt.. This settlement proves that I was right all those years ago when I said it was wrong to remove my hijab for a passport photo. I hope no New Yorker has to go through what I went through. “, recounted Jamilla Clark with emotion, before savoring her important legal victory: “ I am so proud today to have played a role in securing justice for thousands of New Yorkers “.

“This is an important step for the privacy and religious rights of New Yorkers,” ssaid Albert Fox Cahn, director of the defense organization Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, before strongly deploring:The NYPD should never have stripped these New Yorkers of their headgear and their dignity. This was not just an attack on their rights, but on everything our city claims to believe in.”

Well taken Jamilla Clark and Arwa Aziz to fight for the respect of their rights and their integrity, physical and moral, if we judge by the formidable repercussions of their legal fight!

Not only does New York City agree to grant them and 3,598 of their co-religionists the most substantial financial compensation which will be distributed equitably, but the icing on the cake is that the prestigious NYPD police department has changed its internal policy in order to authorize what was until then formally prohibited: Muslim women can now appear veiled in legal ID photos, as long as they are perfectly recognizable.

Afaf Asher

We express our gratitude to the Muslim women who courageously persisted in this disputeprompting a policy change that benefits many people with similar religious dress requirements », Reacted Afaf Asher, director of CAIR New York, the flagship organization defending the rights of American Muslims.