Ask Governor Kemp To Reverse State Agency's Hijab Ban

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Please join us in calling on the State of Georgia to reverse its unconstitutional decision to ban an American Muslim woman from wearing a hijab at work. 

Earlier this year, the Georgia Department of Corrections forced Ms. Jalanda Calhoun, a state correctional officer, to stop wearing her religious hair scarf under threat of termination. Why? The Department insists that its "grooming standards" require female employees to show their earlobes, that wearing a hijab could somehow make it easier for a male inmate to "escape," and that a hijab could be used to conceal "contraband."

None of these reasons make much sense, and all of them are solvable issues. Furthermore, the Department could use the same faulty reasoning to ban Sikhs, Jews, and other religious groups from covering their hair.

“Both my job and my religion are very important to me. I never thought I would have to choose between the two. I know what God has asked me to do, and what the U.S. Constitution allows me to do. My hope is that as a government agency, the Georgia Department of Corrections will do the right thing.” -Correctional Officer Jalanda Calhoun.

"If you are a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, a Sikh man who wears a turban, an Orthodox Jew who wears a kippah, you can serve in the U.S. military while wearing your religious clothing. You can patrol the streets of the city as a police officer. You can perform heart surgery. You can fly a plane. You can do any number of things, but according to the state of Georgia, you cannot wear your religious clothing while you work in the Department of Corrections.” -Edward Ahmed Mitchell, Executive Director of CAIR-Georgia

The Georgia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the nation's largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, has filed a discrimination complaint against the state on behalf of Ms. Calhoun. However, a legal victory could be months away.

Governor Brian Kemp, who has described himself as a strong supporter of religious liberty, can solve this problem today by ordering all state agencies to permit employees to wear basic religious clothing such as Islamic hijabs, Jewish kippas, and Sikh turbans.

We respectfully call on Governor Kemp to intervene, overturn the Department's decision, and require all state agencies to uphold the Constitution's guarantee of religious freedom.

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