Official Statement on the Recent NYPD Incident Involving the Forcible Removal of a Muslim Woman’s Hijab

(New York, NY – 4/13/2024) As the collective voice of the Muslim community in New York, Majlis Ash-Shura of New York is deeply disturbed by the recent account of NYPD officers forcibly removing the hijab of Palestinian activist and organizer Nerdeen Kiswani during an arrest. This reported action is not only a violation of individual rights but an affront to the dignity and religious freedom that we, as a community and a nation, hold dear.

We at Majlis Ash-Shura cannot remain silent in the face of such indignity and discrimination. This reprehensible act serves as a stark reminder of the pervasive Islamophobia and racism that continue to plague the NYPD. Coming in the shadow of a recent class-action lawsuit settlement (STOP-S.T.O.P.)​ that addressed similar breaches of rights by the NYPD, this incident is particularly alarming​. It demonstrates a failure to learn from past mistakes and to respect the legal and moral obligations to uphold the rights of all New Yorkers.

We demand justice with immediate accountability and a transparent investigation into this matter, and an end to the targeting of Muslims and people of color. We urge the NYPD to reinforce its commitment to respecting religious practices and to safeguard the rights of those it is sworn to protect. Policies must not only change on paper but also in the attitudes and actions of every officer.

We stand with Nerdeen Kiswani, and all those who have been victims of police brutality in the last six month while protesting against the US-funded genocide in Palestine by the Israeli regime.

To the affected individuals, know that Majlis Ash-Shura of New York supports you. We are here to amplify your voice and to fight for the dignity you are owed. We call on our community members and allies to stand with us in this demand for justice and respect for religious freedoms.

In times of injustice, silence is not an option; hence, the Majlis Ash-Shura of New York has joined the Strike4Gaza Coalition, a coalition of 23+ national Palestinian and Muslim-led organizations across the US, to call upon all Muslims and allies in the US (including workers, business owners, service providers, parents, students, etc.) to join a national strike and lawful action on Tax Day, April 15th, in solidarity with Palestinians, especially those in Gaza. We will continue to strive for a just and respectful society for all, regardless of faith or background.

For Respect, Dignity, and Justice,
Abdelhafid Djemil, PhD
Majlis Ash-Shura of NY
Islamic Leadership Council of NY