Cheat-Seeking Missles

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Muslim Stinking Welfare Cheat Feels Defiled

Let's turn this afternoon to the OC Register for our daily lesson in the Religion of Peace.

A Muslim woman who was forced to remove her traditional head scarf while in a county jail filed a federal lawsuit on Tuesday claiming the Orange County Sheriff's Department violated her religious rights and put her through a "defiling experience."

Souhair Khatib, 33, of Anaheim, said she refused to remove the scarf several times and pleaded with deputies to allow her to wear it because of her religious beliefs. Islam dictates that women must wear the hijab, which covers the hair and neck, and that only their faces may be revealed.

Deputies insisted she take it off, citing safety reasons because it could potentially be used to choke her, says her lawsuit filed by the ACLU. Khatib, who was placed in a cell at the North County Justice Center for several hours on Nov. 1, 2006 because of a probation violation, said she was seen by several men, which is also a religious violation.

"It was so, so hard because the scarf is part of me. The scarf is like an obligation in our religion," Khatib said. "So you take it off, it's like you're walking naked for Muslim women. They humiliated me."

Damon Micalizzi, a spokesman for Sheriff Mike Carona, said he couldn't comment on specifics of the case but said the department insists all inmates remove some items for safety reasons.

"Although we are sensitive to our inmates' religious beliefs and their ability to exercise their beliefs, it's our operational practice to have inmates remove certain articles of clothing including head gear, ties, belts, etc. for the safety and security of detainees and the staff," he said.

Khatib, a U.S. citizen who emigrated from Lebanon, along with her husband, Amro Khatib, 32, pleaded guilty in Orange County Superior Court in June 2006 to a misdemeanor violation of welfare fraud. They were sentenced to three years probation and ordered to complete 30 days of community service. They were at the county's north courthouse to seek a time extension for the service when they were arrested. ...

After several hours in jail, a judge gave the couple an extension and they were allowed to leave. ...

Now we can argue whether Islam requires women to wear a hajib, and whether it requires them to not be seen in public. There are differing interpretations, and different interpretations of how visible you can be -- as evidenced by this photo of Benazir Bhutto who does not appear to be naked and humiliated wearing this minimal head covering.

If Khatib wins on the argument of needing to be covered, there are a lot of moderate Muslim women who are in violation of Islam -- and Muslims therefore would lose the argument that Islam can be moderate.

I can be sympathetic ... a tad sympathetic ... to Khatib. I'm sure the experience was tough on her -- so tough that she ran to the ACLU in a jiffy. But I don't buy her entire defilement argument.

If she's that devout, she should have felt more defiled when she was committing welfare fraud. I would hope that not being a stinking, lousy welfare cheat would be viewed by Islam to be a greater sin than not having a scarf on your head.

And if she's that devout, she should have felt more defiled when she wasn't doing the mandatory community service that was required under her sentence. I would hope that defying a justly imposed court sentence would be viewed by Islam to be a greater sin than having someone scarf your scarf.

That concludes today's lesson. Remember, there's a quiz on Friday.

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