A 21 year-old Muslim woman from Hackney, in East London, appeared in a courtroom wearing a full-length burqa. Judge Peter Murphy said he would not let
A 21 year-old Muslim woman from Hackney, in East London, appeared in a courtroom wearing a full-length burqa. Judge Peter Murphy said he would not let the 21 year-old woman to stand trial in a veil due to concerns that her identity could not be confirmed. “The principle of open justice overrides the woman’s religious beliefs and that a different person could go into the dock pretending to be her if she did not show her face,” said Murphy.
The 21 year-old defendant told the courtroom that she could remove her face veil while a female police officer or female prison guard could confirm her identity and that she simply does not allow men to see her face. “In my courtroom, this sometimes conflicts with the interests of a paramount need for the administration of justice. In my courtroom, that’s going to come first,” said Murphy while referring to religious traditions. Judge Murphy rejected all suggestions even after prosecutor Sarah Counsell added that the officer in charge of the case was content that he had recognized the woman in the burqa. The young woman was later allowed to testify in a later hearing while wearing the burqa as a female police officer attested to the woman’s identity in private.
There was a similar case in Ottawa where there was controversy as to whether a Muslim woman should testify with or without her face veil, allowing her accused molester to see her face in court. Another similar case took place in Toronto where a judge said “religious belief is not that strong.” With similar cases taking place, there is much speculation within the Muslim community as to whether or not Islamophobia is becoming a concern in Canada.
There are many cases where Muslim woman are being targeted explicitly. Another case of which targets Muslim women due to ‘security reasons’ is that of the Birmingham Metropolitan College which had banned students from wearing hats, caps and religious veils due to security reasons but later on decided to waive and change its policy due to media attention.
“We are concerned that recent media attention is detracting from our core mission of providing high quality learning,” a representative on behalf of the college said. The ban was backed by Prime Minister David Cameron as a spokesman for Mr Cameron said “the point I would make on this is that we back schools being able to set and enforce their own school uniform policies.”
History is built upon repetition and as we can see, Muslims are being targeted and alienated in most parts of Europe and the American continent just like African Americans were at the time.Public freedoms include religious freedoms, of which gives a person the right to practice and articulate his/her religious rights and freedom. How safe are we really, if our rights and freedoms can be taken away from us and/or delimited?