Amina Farah Ali, 35, was found guilty
last week of raising money for al-Shabaab.
(Associated Press file)
Somali protests jail ban on headscarf with refusal to leave cell
By David Hanners
Updated: 10/26/2011 11:17:28 PM CDT
Less than a week after she was convicted in a scheme to send money to a group battling Somalia's fledgling government, Amina Farah Ali is refusing to come out of her jail cell to eat, her attorney said.
The issue stems from the Rochester, Minn., woman's belief that her religion, Islam, requires her to wear a head covering, or hijab, when in public. The Sherburne County Jail in Elk River, where she is being held, doesn't allow them.
The jail forbid the covering despite a judge's assurances to the woman last week in a Minneapolis courtroom that her religious customs would be accommodated.
But Chief U.S. District Judge Michael Davis didn't spell out how far those accommodations would go, and the man in charge of the jail said prisoners aren't allowed to wear anything on their heads.
"All inmates are issued jail-issue clothing, and they have to wear that" said Pat Carr, jail commander for the Sherburne County sheriff's office. "Nobody wears hats while in custody, or any type of headgear."
He said Ali wasn't being singled out for her religion.
"It's like any religious person," he said. "A Christian couldn't wear a crucifix. No personal clothing is allowed in the jail."
Sherburne County Sheriff Joel Brott said Ali was eating, but he didn't know if she was eating in a dayroom with other prisoners or was having food brought to her cell.
"We don't have any concerns," he said. Pioneer Press ... More Here