Mugshots showing Muslim women without hijabs were ‘a form of public shaming,’ protester claims

Source: The Washington Post

Jail officials in Cumberland County, Maine, have a special protocol for taking booking photos of Muslim women who wear hijabs. They’re photographed twice — once while wearing a hijab, and once without.

The scarfless photos are never supposed to be seen beyond the walls of the jail.

But the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Office has launched an investigation to see if the religious rights of two Muslim women were violated after mugshots showing them without their hijabs were released to the media.


A protester told the Portland City Council that the release of the photos was an effort to publicly embarrass the women, who were taken into custody during a group arrest last month at a Black Lives Matter event in Portland.

The women in question have not said anything publicly or complained to the sheriff’s office, Cumberland County Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon told The Washington Post. Investigators have made contact with community members who know some of the protesters, but have not determined if the women felt their rights were violated.

Four women wearing hijabs were arrested, and “were promised that [jail officials] would not release photos of individuals that did not have hijabs on,” protester Matthew Raymond told the Portland Press Herald. “In our opinion, it was a form of public shaming and it’s a violation of their First Amendment religious rights.”

The July 15 protest, organized by the Portland Racial Justice Congress, drew 150 demonstrators, according to the Press Herald. The group was protesting the fatal shootings of black men by police in Minnesota and Baton Rouge, La.

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