Monday, June 22, 2009

Top Michigan Court Decides: Courtroom Judge Has Power to Ban Muslim Veil

A divided Michigan Supreme Court has approved a much-awaited rule of evidence revision that delineates the power of a courtroom judge to determine witness attire.

Rejecting an American Civil Liberties Union argument that the revised Michigan Rule of Evidence 611 should contain an exception for religious dress, the court voted 5-2 to approve a standard that gives the courtroom judge the power to require witnesses to remove head or facial coverings, reports the Detroit Free Press.

The rule review was sparked by a small claims case in which a Muslim woman was asked in a 2006 hearing to remove her niqab so that the judge could see her face to determine her truthfulness as she was testifying.

Ginnah Muhammad refused to take off the religious veil, and 31st District Judge Paul Paruk dismissed her small claims case against a rental car company as a result. She then filed a federal court suit against the judge, which was later dismissed, according to the newspaper and the Associated Press.

Source (Plus More): ABA Journal


Asmaa said...

That's so sad that a judge can prevent a sister from testifying in court because of her veil (hijab). Yet I think we sometimes bring this upon ourselves by not fully understanding the fiqh of hijab & niqab. Many scholars of Islamic Shari`ah also require a sister wearing niqab to first remove the face veil to confirm her identity to those present before she continues with a business contract or testifying in court. Wa'Allahu a`lam.

Anonymous said...

I agree that niqabis can bring this on themselves. This was for the Prophet Muhammad (saw)'s wives because of their status. Only in hostile lawless situations where rape and sexual assult is rampant or in militant demonstrations should sisters run around in niqab. In non Muslim countries it ceartainly cause alarm. Imagine being a cop and a niqabi is driving down the street. Ofcourse the cop will pull her over to make sure about several possible things like is this an underage driver even hijabis will be effected in court because of this niqabi's action.