The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Oklahoma chapter announced Tuesday they are filing a lawsuit against the Tulsa County Sheriff.
The petition claims that Suha Elqutt was denied access into the Tulsa County Courthouse and then forced to remove her hijab in public.
According to a release from the ACLU of Oklahoma Monday, the sheriff’s office is constitutionally required to “make reasonable accommodations to individuals for sincerely held religious beliefs.”
“Tulsa joins a number of other U.S. cities facing lawsuits over their treatment of Muslim women who wear the hijab,” said CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure. “Ms. Elqutt is determined that her experience provide a means to seek justice for Muslim women everywhere, and for any American facing discrimination because of their religious beliefs.”
“By failing to provide a reasonable accommodation for our client, the Tulsa County Sheriff has forced Ms. Elqutt to choose between two equally vital constitutional rights,” said Brady Henderson, Legal Director at ACLU of Oklahoma. “No one should have to choose between access to the courts and their deeply held religious beliefs. By forcing her to do so, the Tulsa County Sheriff has violated some of our most basic and cherished constitutional rights.”
The release claimed that the groups are seeking injunctive relief to prevent the sheriff’s office from continuing the practice.
The sheriff’s office held a press conference to discuss the allegations.
Sheriff Vic Regalado said that a hair clip caused a metal detector to go off while Elqutt entered the courthouse. Regalado claimed that female deputies took Elqutt to a separate room away from the public so that they could find what set off the detector.