Cheema v. Thompson
Baptized Sikh students permitted to wear symbolic ceremonial knives to school
The ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging restrictions on an asylum seeker's right to wear a religious head covering. The plaintiff, Harpal Singh Cheema, is a devout Sikh, imprisoned since 1997 while awaiting a decision on his asylum application.
The lawsuit charges that the restrictions on Cheema's religious practice violate religious freedom as guaranteed by the First Amendment and federal laws, including the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.