After blocking court elevators in protest of illegal immigrants being detained, a Muslim woman was arrested for criminal trespassing. Once police photographed her mugshot without her hijab, she warned them not to use the picture. Unfortunately, her demand majorly backfired.
For 24-year-old Clara Ruplinger, activism is a way of life. Whether it’s supporting the abolition of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement or fighting to dismantle the patriarchy, the blue-haired feminist is at the forefront of the vocal movement.
So, when a small group of far-left activists gathered in Kentucky to protest on behalf of illegal immigrants at the U.S. southern border, Ruplinger was right beside them. The recent convert to Islam stood with her comrades in front of the elevators at the Heyburn Building to block people from heading to the immigration court. As expected, the demonstrators soon found themselves detained.
Along with eight other protesters, Ruplinger was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespassing. While being booked, she claims that male officers forced her to remove her hijab in order to take a mugshot even though she told them that “removing her headscarf in the presence of men with no familial relation violated her religious beliefs,” Courier-Journal reports.
After her uncovered booking photo was taken, Ruplinger warned officers not to use the picture of her without her hijab, since another photo of her with her veil was snapped. However, once her official mugshot was released, she realized that she had been completely exposed.
Once Ruplinger saw her unveiled mugshot, she immediately lawyered up, suing Louisville Metro Corrections and the city for violation of her religious rights. On behalf of her client, attorney Soha Saiyed demanded that the corrections office remove Ruplinger’s photo so that no unrelated male figures may see her hair. What ensued was even worse than Ruplinger could have imagined.
After bringing media attention to her mugshot, Ruplinger learned a hard lesson in the “Streisand Effect,” which is a phenomenon whereby efforts to suppress something backfire, making it even more popular or widely publicized. In calling for her mugshot to be censored, Ruplinger and her team of lawyers have now drawn national attention to her photo.
While Ruplinger’s suit alleges that she cannot be seen without her hijab, her public social media profiles suggest that she doesn’t mind being viewed unveiled. Photos of Ruplinger’s hair are visible for the public on both Instagram and Twitter as she has made no attempt to remove them for violating her religious belief.
Still, Ruplinger is requesting that her mugshot without her hijab be removed from the public record, Insider Louisville reports. Additionally, she wants an undecided dollar amount for “damages for physical, mental, and emotional pain, suffering, and humiliation, now and in the future.”
Stating that her client felt “intimidated, humiliated and embarrassed by her treatment,” Saiyed added that “Metro’s demand that Ms. Ruplinger remove her scarf in an inmate booking room, surrounded by others, was inappropriate and illegal, as was its publication of her photo without a headscarf.”
While the jail seems to have violated Ruplinger’s right to wear a hijab, as current policy states, her legal argument that she has suffered from her hair being shown is weak, to say the least. Ruplinger has numerous photos of herself without a hijab, some fairly recent, and has made no effort to scrub them from social media.
The city is in hot water for the officers’ decision to publish the photo. However, it’s not clear that Ruplinger will get the monetary compensation she desires since she seems to only take issue with publishing a photo of herself without her hijab when it’s the police doing it.