CAIR-CA Sponsors Religious Accommodations Bill in Local, State Correctional and Detention Facilities 

(SACRAMENTO, CA, 2/6/2023) – The California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), along with Senator Cortese (SD-15), today announced the introduction of SB309: Religious Accommodations in Local and State Correctional and Detention Facilities.    

The bill, introduced by Senator Cortese and sponsored by CAIR-CA, aims to create a statewide policy ensuring the right to religious clothing, grooming, and headwear for individuals held in local and state correctional and detention facilities.    

In a statement, CAIR-CA CEO Hussam Ayloush said:    

“Individuals who have been detained or incarcerated deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. At the very least, the Constitution guarantees them the right to exercise their faith. CAIR’s civil rights attorneys regularly receive complaints from Muslims in correctional and detention facilities, who are often denied the right to wear the hijab and other forms of religious clothing and grooming.     

“We would like to thank Senator Cortese for introducing the religious accommodations bill on a state level. This bill will proactively protect the religious rights of not just Muslims, but also our Sikh and Jewish neighbors and other religious minorities.”    

In a statement, CAIR-CA Policy & Government Affairs Manager Nazeehah Khan said:     

“At the heart of ensuring civil rights is recognizing a person’s humanity. Whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Sikh, or a member of any other faith, the ability to practice your faith is essential to the rehabilitation process. We thank Senator Cortese for his leadership in recognizing the value of religious expression for all and we look forward to working with the Senator’s office to make this bill a reality in California.”    

Over the last decade, CAIR-CA has represented incarcerated Muslim women across the state who have had their hijabs forcibly removed and denied religious headwear and clothing accommodations. While CAIR-CA has been successful in advocating for policy changes within individual counties, such as Long Beach, Orange County, and Santa Clara, this bill would provide the opportunity to address the issue proactively by implementing a uniform policy across California for both state and local detention facilities.    

SEE: How CAIR-LA, Local Chaplain Maria Khani, and Shura Council Helped Improve Meals for Incarcerated Muslims During Ramadan   

CAIR-CA is a chapter of CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, protect civil rights, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.      

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