Woman suing judge for making her remove hijab admits having nude cell phone pix

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Woman suing judge took nude cell phone pics

Posted by Times-Herald Newspapers on 4/10/10 • Categorized as Stories

Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS — A Muslim woman who is suing a Wayne County judge for making her remove a religious scarf during a court proceeding says that several cell phones containing nude photos of her were stolen during a burglary at her house.

Raneen Albaghdady, 33, called police March 27 after she found her house in the 25000 block of Andover ransacked. Among the items taken were six cell phones that she told police had nude photos on them.

She said she suspected an ex-boyfriend was responsible for the break-in, and that she was worried he may post the photos on the Internet, because he previously had posted other pictures of her online, police said.

The incident could come into play as her lawsuit against 3rd Circuit Court Family Division Judge William Callahan moves forward.

Filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in August, the suit alleges that Callahan denied Albaghdady’s religious freedom when he made her remove her hijab during a June name change hearing in his Detroit courtroom.

A hijab is an Islamic headdress worn by Muslim women that covers various parts of the head, neck, and face, according to the complaint.

At a press conference announcing the lawsuit held by the Council of American Islamic Relations Michigan chapter, a Muslim civil rights organization and co-plaintiff on the suit, a spokeswoman for the group described the significance of the hijab.

“It’s out of sheer modesty of appearance and dress and covering your beauty,” she said. “When one is accustomed to wearing the hijab, to a certain way of dress, to a certain way of acting, to have to then uncover, you almost feel revealed or definitely very vulnerable, but understandably so, humiliated and embarrassed.”

Callahan has maintained that he didn’t know the hijab was a religious garment. A courtroom video of the exchange between Callahan and Albaghdady went as follows:

Callahan: “The headpiece…,” while gesturing to remove the piece.

Albaghdady: “I’m sorry?”

Callahan: “No hats allowed in the courtroom.”

Man seated in courtroom: “It’s not a hat. It’s a scarf.”

Callahan: “Excuse me, sir.”

Albaghdady: “This one?” pointing at her hijab.

Callahan: “No hats allowed in the courtroom.”

Albaghdady: “This one?”

Callahan: “Yes.”

Albaghdady: “OK. It doesn’t matter.”

She then removed the piece.

The case currently is under consideration for dismissal or summary judgment by presiding Judge Marianne Battani. The motion was filed by the Michigan Attorney General’s Office, which is representing Callahan, and seeks to have the suit thrown out on judicial immunity guidelines.

Assistant Attorney General Margaret Nelson on Thursday said the motion centers on the legal basis of Albaghdady’s claim, not the factual basis. But she said the cell phone photos could prove germane if the motion is denied. “If we lose this motion then the next step would be to develop the facts,” she said. “And that’s certainly something that we would look to develop at the time.”

Canton Township attorney Nabih Ayad, who is representing Albaghdady, said that the photos would have no bearing if the case goes to trial. A telephone call to Albaghdady seeking comment for this story was not returned as of press time.

“People convert to religions all the time, so the fact that she may have taken some photos for her husband sometime in the past is of no significance to this case,” he said.

Link: Here are some crybabies complaining about Albaghdady's "mistreatment" at the hands of the judge (with video).

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