Jackpot! Muslim Woman in Tennessee Gets $100,000 for Having to Remove Her Hijab for a Mugshot

News & Politics

There are several ways to get rich in Old Joe Biden’s America. Among the most notable are winning an elected office, being the son of a major elected official, and being part of one of the left’s protected victim groups who can make a case for having been the victim of discrimination. That last one is why a woman in Tennessee, Sophia Johnston, is $100,000 richer today.


Of course, another feature of Old Joe Biden’s America is that $100,000 today amounts to only $14,474 in 1973 dollars, 1973 being the year Old Joe entered the Senate and began working for a better deal for the common man. So it cannot be said that winning her discrimination case has made Sophia Johnston rich, but still, $100,000 even in 2024 dollars is a nice chunk of change to get just for winning the victimhood jackpot.

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The Nashville Tennessean reported Monday that Johnston “has reached a settlement with Rutherford County and members of the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office after she was forced to remove her hijab for a booking photo at the Rutherford County Detention Center in late August.” Johnston claimed that “the forced removal of her religious covering for a minor — and since dismissed — criminal booking violated her First Amendment right to practice her religion without interference.”

Even worse, Johnston contended, it was obscene. The Miami Herald reported in August 2023 that “forcing an observant Muslim woman to remove her hijab in front of men who are not family is ‘humiliating and degrading,’ according to the lawsuit, which likened doing so to making a woman remove her shirt in public.”


The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office folded easily in the face of the prospect of being accused of “Islamophobia”: “As part of the settlement, the county agreed to update its booking and jail policies to accommodate religious attire, delete Johnston’s booking photos and all video footage in which she was depicted without wearing her hijab, and pay her $100,000.” What? No all-expenses-paid vacation in an Islamic holy city of her choice? No valet service? What kind of a settlement is this?

A lucrative one. Daniel Horwitz, the chief of Johnston’s legal team, crowed: “This is a historic win for Ms. Johnston and her entire religious community. Citizens have the right to practice their religion without unreasonable governmental interference, and we are proud to have vindicated Ms. Johnston’s rights and secured permanent policy changes that will prevent violations like this from recurring. Every government agency in Tennessee should take notice.”

This was indeed “a historic win for Ms. Johnston and her entire religious community,” but it’s a loss for the safety and security of the people in Rutherford County. The reason why Muslim women are asked to remove their hijab for booking photos is because something could be concealed within it, including a weapon, and to enable more precise identification. But all that goes out the window when Muslim groups play the “Islamophobia” card.


The updated booking policy states that “arrestees and citation recipients are not required to remove religious head coverings for booking photos as long as the view of the face and profile are not obstructed by religious attire.” Great. Knives, drugs, and who knows what else could be hidden in there, but who cares? To maintain such concerns would be “Islamophobic.”

Related: Gimme a Break: Haley Claims That in the South, She Was ‘Teased Every Day for Being Brown’

Johnston was understandably happy after her victory, saying: “I’m extremely grateful (for the results. It wasn’t just for me. It was something that I wanted to make sure I did for you all.… It feels like I’m not just a voice just for myself, (but rather) a voice to all religions to let them know that it’s okay to practice religion, to stand up for your rights and hopefully empower others to do the same thing.” 

That’s marvelous. She is indeed a voice not just for herself, but for everyone who is aiding and abetting the breakdown of common-sense safety standards all over the country in the name of “equity” and the avoidance of “discrimination.” The next time someone conceals a weapon in headgear and attacks someone in a police station, Sophia Johnston and Daniel Horwitz should get a personalized thank-you card from the victim (or victims). 


Johnston adds: “I just remember being feeling alone,” she said. “It took me through a lot of changes — a lot of PTSD even afterwards. I just felt like my rights were being violated in the worst way. … I’ve never done anything wrong in my life. So it was very different for me. And then having gotten to the point where my hijab had to be removed and everything, it was very scary for me.” 

I’m so very sorry. But why should others now be endangered to make up for this unsettling experience?

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