(Breitbart) – A Georgia prison guard who recently converted to Islam alleges that the state Department of Corrections has barred her from wearing a hijab while on the job.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports 25-year-old Rogers State Prison corrections officer Jalanda Calhoun has filed a discrimination complaint against the agency with the state Commission on Equal Opportunity. Calhoun says she started wearing a hijab at the Reidsville men’s prison and was asked to stop several weeks later.
Calhoun says she received a letter from prison Warden Linton Deloach that said her hijab didn’t meet agency standards. She says Deloach suggested she instead wear an agency cap and expressed concern about being able to identify her, and that contraband could be concealed in the scarf.
“Both my job and my religion are very important to me,” Calhoun said. “I never thought I would have to choose between” her job and religion.
Muslim activists such as executive director of CAIR-Georgia Edward Ahmed Mitchell argue that Calhoun should be allowed to don a hijab since U.S. military personnel are allowed to wear religious symbols.
“If you are a Muslim woman who wears a hijab, a Sikh man who wears a turban, an Orthodox Jew who wears a kippah or a Catholic nun who wears a habit, you can serve in the U.S. military while wearing your religious clothing,” said Mitchell. ”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.”
The corrections department has yet to issue a statement on the matter.
Flashback: Here We Go… Muslim Soldier Plans To Sue Army Over Hijab After She Is Caught Breaking The Rules
Spc. Cesilia Valdovinos was demoted this week after she was caught breaking Army regulation.
Above: Cesilia Valdovinos
Female members of the Army are required to put their hair in a bun for safety reasons.
Cesilia was caught wearing her hair down under her hijab so she was demoted.
Now Valdovinos plans to sue the Army over a violation of her civil rights. She says she is a victim of religious discrimination.
The Army Times reported:
Following a rejected equal opportunity complaint and a demotion in rank, a Muslim soldier who has accused her Fort Carson, Colorado, leadership of religious discrimination is contemplating a federal lawsuit, her attorney confirmed to Army Times on Wednesday.
Spc. Cesilia Valdovinos, who was demoted this week following an unrelated Article 15 investigation, will file a complaint alleging violation of her civil rights either in northern Virginia or Denver, according to Mikey Weinstein, founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.
“This is a pattern and practice of anti-Muslim bigotry, prejudice and harassment,” he said.
The 26-year-old culinary specialist’s story first went viral in mid-March, after she filed an EO complaint with her command based on an incident with her command sergeant major at the 704th Transportation Battalion.
The senior noncommissioned officer, believing that Valdovinos was wearing her hair down underneath her hijab ― rather than in a bun, per regulation ― demanded the soldier remove the head covering.
Her hair fell to her shoulders, Valdovinos told Army Times, because she uses the extra fabric in the cap to secure her bun. When she removes it, the bun falls out.
Featured image credit: Georgia Department of Corrections, Jalanda Calhoun/Facebook