(KRON) — Santa Clara County will pay a Muslim woman, Asia Aden, $90,000 after she was asked to remove her hijab while she was being booked into a county jail, attorneys said.
Aden was represented by the Council on American-Islamic Relations San Francisco Bay Area Office of the Council (CAIR-SFBA), which announced the settlement on Monday.
According CAIR-SFBA, Aden was booked into Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas in October of 2022. Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office deputies asked Aden to remove her hijab “to conduct a pat search for safety purposes. The hijab was removed and returned when she was released from custody a few days later,” the council wrote.
Aden previously said she felt “humiliated and disgraced” from removing her hijab in jail.
Since the incident, jails changed their inmate search and mugshot photography policies to balance safety precautions — such as pat searches — with a person’s right to religious expression.
Under the new policies, Aden would have been offered a pat search in private or outside the presence of men, as well as the opportunity to take a mugshot photograph while wearing her hijab, the council said. The new policies would have also allowed Aden to keep her hijab or receive a jail-issued religious covering during her custody stay, according to the council.
CAIR-SFBA Civil Rights Attorney Jeffrey Wang said, “We welcome the settlement as a step towards justice for Ms. Aden. We urge more municipalities to follow Santa Clara County’s example by reviewing and implementing policies to ensure everyone’s constitutional rights are protected, regardless of faith.”