Hastings Race and Poverty Law Journal


Aliah Abdo


The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom of religion, however the current sociopolitical and legal climate has allowed for various restrictions on hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women. This note surveys recent restrictions and bans affecting the wearing of hijab in educational settings, employment, prison entry, state driver license photos, athletic competitions, airports, and in court, noting an alarming trend both internationally and domestically. The author suggests that the justifications associated with actions against hijab are merely pretextual and that these actions are often based on misconceptions and misunderstandings surrounding hijab, the Muslim community, and the religion of Islam. After analyzing the inadequacy of American courts in protecting Muslim women from religious discrimination, this note argues that courts must do more to uphold the constitutional right to free exercise of religion.

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