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SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court says Orange County officials acted legally when they ordered a Muslim inmate in a courthouse holding cell to remove her headscarf.
The U.S. Court of Appeals said Monday that since Souhair Khatib was detained for only eight hours, the holding cell didn’t qualify as a penal institution covered by federal law that protects inmates’ religious practices.
The 2-1 decision upholds a lower court ruling. Orange County officials said they ordered the headscarf removed due to a fear that it could be used as a weapon.
Khatib was briefly detained while awaiting a probation violation hearing related to a welfare fraud conviction. Chief Justice Alex Kozinski dissented.
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