Well, this is embarrassing

In the Southern hamlet of Valdosta, Georgia, a Muslim woman was apparently barred from entering a courtroom to contest a speeding ticket because she had on a head scarf. The story was in my morning paper and probably is on al.com, but I like this Pravda link because it has a picture, so you can see just whut kinda headrag we’re talkin about. Uh-huh.

 They told her it was for “homeland security reasons,” and that letting her into the courtroom wearing the scarf would show disrespect to the judge, Vernita Lee Bender. The judge later apologized, but said “we have rules that everyone has to follow.” Now, what do you suppose those rules are? Presumably you can’t wear your John Deere billed cap to court, but does she make chemotherapy patients bare their pitiful lil fuzzy heads to show proper respect as well?

 As my dear husband said yesterday about the headline, “Romney Offers Assurances: ‘Christ is my Savior’”—this sounds like something out of The Onion.

 She ended up pleading guilty and paying her hundred and sixty-eight bucks. Looks like she was speeding. Lousy Godless scofflaw.

6 Responses to “Well, this is embarrassing”

  1. Kathy says:

    Homeland security reasons? What on earth did they think she was hiding under that headscarf?

    I wonder how these “rules” came about. Perhaps, back in the distant past, some enraged redneck brought in a firearm hidden underneath his John Deere cap, which led to a ban on all head coverings. Or not.

  2. Dan says:

    I don’t mind reasonable rules for entering government buildings, but I’m not sure that was reasonable. It would be informative to know if there was a written rule about headgear.

  3. Half my students wear scarves of that kind. I really don’t see what anyone thought the danger could be. And I’ve never heard of it being disrespectful for women to wear hats indoors, only men.

  4. Del says:

    I’m sure the written rules, if any, will be produced during the course of defending the lawsuit.

    You know, it used to be that wearing head covering was how women showed respect. That whole First Corinthians thing. That’s the part of this little anecdote that offends me more than anything else–not the ridiculous “homeland security reasons” excuse, but the business about not letting her dis the judge with that nasty rude head scarf.

    I mean, for goodness’ sake, we’ve been “involved” with these countries for going on six years now. There’s a Muslim Cultural Center right there in Valdosta; surely this isn’t the first time the judge et al. have glimpsed these exotic creatures and their outlandish attire. I don’t expect Vernita Lee to be able to recite the names of every holiday in the Muslim calendar, but a little cultural awareness would be nice.

    It just makes me proud all over again of the high school my kids go to, which made accommodations in the uniform code to allow a Muslim girl to wear a long skirt and head covering. Every time I see her on campus in her powder-blue head scarf and ankle-length khaki skirt, I want to shake somebody’s hand.

  5. Charles says:

    Well, the Muslim lady did NOT have to plead “guilty” as you stated; she was allowed to plead nolo contendere and pay the $168 fine. To her it probably amounted to the same thing.

    The judge and the court security guard were idiots here. Would they have denied a Roman Catholic nun in a veil access to the courtroom?

  6. My friend on Orkut shared this link and I’m not dissapointed at all that I came to your blog.

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