USA: Muslim woman banned from wearing hijab during bar exam

By Youssef El Kaidi

Morocco World News

Fez, August 4, 2013

Iman Abdulrazzak, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, was asked to remove her hijab during the morning session of her bar exam on Thursday, August 1st  at the Western New England University School of Law. The note Iman received from an exam proctor asked her to take off her headwear and put it under her seat.

“Headwear may not be worn during the examination without prior written approval. We have no record of you being given prior written approval. Please remove your headwear and place it under your seat for the afternoon session,” the note said.

According to the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners’ security policy, headwear, including “hats, scarves, caps, hoods, bandanas, visors, costume headgear or sunglasses” are not allowed in the examination room but religious headwear such as Jewish yarmulkes, Muslim hijabs and Sikh dastars are permitted.

The decision taken against Iman Abdulrazzak seems, thus, illegal not only because the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners’ security policy permits religious headwear, but also because Iman had requested and obtained approval for wearing the hijab on Monday, July 29th. What seems also questionable is why the proctor gave her the note during the exam instead of waiting until the lunch break.

Iman was allowed to pass her afternoon session of the exam with her hijab after she requested approval again from the Bar office, but she remained very upset. She shared the photo of the note on social media and captioned it: “trying hard to control how upset I am.”

 “I spent Monday getting authorization to wear a head scarf. I was already bothered Massachusetts even required such a formal process for wearing it. I spent Monday getting authorization to wear a head scarf. I was already bothered Massachusetts even required such a formal process for wearing it,” Iman wrote on a blog.

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