September 9, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Attorneys for Kimberlie Webb, 44, a Philadelphia Muslim police officer, appeared before the Third U.S. District Court of Appeals today, arguing that she should be allowed to wear a religious head covering while on duty.
Compared to the much shorter hijab, the khimar covers a woman's hair, forehead, sides of the head, neck, shoulders, and chest, sometimes extending as far down as the calf.
Since 2003 Webb has been a source of conflict in the police department, having been found guilty of insubordination and neglect of duty, because of her refusal to stop wearing the khimar. This led to her being suspended for 13 days by police commissioner Sylvester Johnson, also a Muslim. Webb has also been disciplined for failure to maintain a valid driver's license and for improperly handling evidentiary material. [source, Kimberlie Webb vs City of Philadelphia, http://www.paed.uscourts.gov/documents/opinions/07D0703P.pdf]
Webb's Title VII federal lawsuit is alleging religious discrimination and retaliation. Her attorney, Jeffrey M. Pollock, told a packed court room that the case represented a "fundamental liberty right" and asked the judges whether wearing a scarf is, "such a violent religious symbol that we can't tolerate that?" He also attempted to make the case that according to police regulations it was legal to wear a scarf in cold weather prompting the judge to point out that Webb was appealing to wear her scarf even in "90 degrees."
City attorney, Eleanor Ewing maintained that the police department uniform policy was meant to maintain religious neutrality and stated that decisions on what officers are permitted to wear should rightfully be made by the police commissioner. Regulations regarding dress requirement for Philadelphia police officers is contained in Directive #78.
One heated point of dispute was an allegation by Webb's attorney that the police department had previously allowed officers to wear crosses and angel pins as well as ash on their foreheads on Ash Wednesday, prompting the judge to demand that specific instances be cited. Given the opportunity, Mr. Pollock was unable to provide evidence in substantiation of his claim.
A decision on the matter is expected in 30-90 days.
The backdrop against which this case plays out is important. Officer Webb's campaign - supported by the Islamist group CAIR - is clearly an attempt to use the courts to force the Philadelphia Police Department to become Shari'a compliant and must be understood in context; as a component of the stealth jihad, a plan laid out by the Muslim Brotherhood. So important are such cases to CAIR's thuggish agenda of Islamizing America that it was the party which sought out Webb's attorneys and contacted the ACLU for additional assistance.
"In June of 2007 Officer Webb sought the assistance of the Philadelphia chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR was able to locate two pro-bono attorneys for Officer Webb; Mr. Jeffrey M. Pollock, a partner with Fox Rothschild, LLP and Professor Seval Yildirim from Whittier Law School in California. These two attorneys worked diligently for months to prepare Officer Webb?s appeal. CAIR also simultaneously contacted numerous organizations to rally support for Officer Webb's case. One of those organizations, the ACLU-PA, was able to find attorneys, Mr. Frank Magaziner and Mr. John Ghose of Dechert LLP, who also worked diligently to prepare an amicus brief on behalf of all the supporting organizations." [source, http://pa.cair.com/index.php?Page=case-webb-history&Side=crights]
Joining with CAIR [an unindicted co-conspirator in the U.S. vs Holy Land Foundation Hamas terror funding prosecution] and the ACLU in this action are the usual suspects, the Islamic Society of North America [ISNA, also an unindicted co-conspirator in U.S. vs Holy Land] the Majlis Ash?Shura of Philadelphia and Delaware Valley, the Muslim Alliance of North America, the Muslim American Society [MAS] and the Muslim Public Affairs Council [MPAC, who also supports admitted Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist Sami Al-Arian] as well as the American Muslim Law Enforcement Officers Association. [source, http://pa.cair.com/index.php?Page=case-webb-orgs&Side=crights]
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