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CAIR-DFW Urges Courts To Allow Religious Head Coverings

Photo of a woman, Kendra Rumph Montemayor, who is wearing a hijab standing outside a building.
Kendra Rumph Montemayor
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Kendra Rumph Montemayor posted a video on her Facebook page after being told she couldn't go inside a Haltom City Municipal Courtroom because of the court's no hat policy. Montemayor wears a hijab because she's Muslim.

The DFW Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on municipal courts to allow head coverings after receiving complaints from people who've been told they can't enter a courtroom.

Earlier this week, Kendra Rumph Montemayor stopped by Haltom City Municipal Court to pay a speeding ticket.

But in a Facebook video, she said she was told she couldn't go inside the courtroom because of her head covering. She told court employees she wore it for religious reasons.

Now, the Dallas Fort Worth Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations is calling on municipal courts to allow people wearing religious head coverings inside their courtrooms.

Faizan Syed, executive director of CAIR-DFW, said he's heard from people who've had similar experiences in other North Texas courtrooms.

In Montemayor's case, Syed said a police officer and an employee inside the municipal court told her the judge there had a no hat policy.

"There should be exceptions to these no hat policies to allow Muslim women who wear the hijab or Sikh men who wear turbans or Catholic nuns who wear the habit or Jewish men who wear yarmulkes or whatever it might be, to be able to go in freely practice their faith and not feel like they're being singled out," Syed said.

Haltom City City Manager Rex Phelps said the municipal court judge saw Montemayor outside and told her she could go in, but that Montemayor opted not to.

Phelps also said the court's policy has now been changed so that exceptions are made for religious head coverings.

CAIR-DFW is planning to hold a press conference Thursday at 1 p.m. to discuss the issue.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Stella M. Chávez at schavez@kera.org. You can follow Stella on Twitter at @stellamchavez.

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