Boulder's Latest Cultural Debate: Hijabs in Mugshots

December 2010

The Muslim headscarf debate isn't confined to France, where a court recently annulled a fine imposed on a woman for wearing her veil while driving. Similar disputes have taken some rather unlikely forms in places across the United States, like Georgia, where a Muslim-American woman who was arrested for refusing to remove her headscarf before entering a courtroom has filed a civil liberties lawsuit (via Reuters).

In Boulder, discussion has cropped up over an arrested University of Colorado student's desire to wear a headscarf in a police mugshot. A ruling made available to the public Tuesday reveals that a Boulder County judge denied Maria Hardman's request to wear her headscarf, a hijab, for the photo, which was yet to be taken, writes the Daily Camera. Hardman, a 19-year-old convert to Islam who had been detained for driving under the influence of alcohol while riding her scooter, cited Islamic law, which forbids removing the headscarf in public.

The court ruled that the jail should make accommodations to take the photo in a non-public part of the jail without men present. But it doesn't appear any special accommodations will be necessary. Late yesterday, after the ruling was publicized, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle said he will allow Hardman to wear her headscarf in the booking photo if she pushes it back far enough to expose her hairline and ears.