Md. Courthouses Can Require Removal of Face Covers

BALTIMORE -- Maryland's attorney general says Muslim women and others can be required to temporarily remove face coverings worn for religious purposes before they enter a courthouse.

Attorney General Doug Gansler's office said the First Amendment right to freedom of religion was weighed against the state's interest in securing courthouses. Officials said for security or identification, law enforcement can require the removal of face coverings at checkpoints if the policy is applied consistently.

The Prince George's County sheriff's office asked Gansler's office for guidance after hearing of cases involving Muslim women in other courthouses.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney David Rocah said he's concerned that the opinion could be interpreted to apply to other kinds of head coverings.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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