Saturday, 30 June 2007

Woman unwilling to remove hijab in UK court

A Moslem woman who appeared in Magistrates court yesterday, charged with Criminal Damage, in Manchester wearing a hijab was unwilling to remove it.

Zoobia Hussain, 32, of Crumpsall, Manchester was unwilling to remove the hijab, so the Magistrate, Ian Murray, a Taxi Driver, walked out. He now understandably faces an inquiry.

It seems perfectly reasonable to insist that a defendant in court appear without a face covering. There is something deeply counter to the whole concept of British justice for the defendant to conceal themselves from the court in such a way. Quite frankly it is difficult to conceive of an instance where it would be reasonable for a defendant to do so.

Never-the-less Mr Murray went about the matter the wrong way. He should have first asked that she remove it, considered dealing with the matter by way of contempt of court, or at least adjourned the case. Now he has managed to make himself look foolish and unreasonable when his actual objection was perfectly reasonable.

Miss Hawkins, Zoobia Hussain’s legal representative, said yesterday the Defendant, ”remains shocked and distressed. She suffered hurt feelings and felt intimidated and deeply embarrassed by the treatment she received at court.”

Yes – By coincidence she also stands a pretty good chance of getting off now as well one suspects.

Apparently: "She is angry that, as a result of the ensuing publicity, she has now had to explain to her children what happened."

Well people who end up in court charged with criminal damage sometimes have to do that, don’t they - covering or no covering, especially if they get publicity, or get sent down.

If she didn’t want publicity a reasonable person might draw the conclusion she would have been wise not to court it ;-) by turning up in the hijab, or an even more effective strategy - avoid being charged with criminal damage in the first place...

2 comments:

lurgee said...

Your source does not blackup your claim that she refused to remove the hijab. It does not indicate that she was ever asked to do so. It suggests, in fact, that the magistrate walked out without saying why.

Please correct the post and present facts in future.

Phil A said...

Lurgee, It appears her solicitor, Judith Hawkins, said Hussain wanted to remain covered whilst appearing in the dock in order to remain covered in public places when men are present".

The magistrate then seems for some unaccountable reason to have withdrawn from the case because she was wearing the covering.

Certainly Hussain was unwilling to remove the covering, but I agree it does indeed seem from the sources available that she never got the chance to reach, or not reach, the point of actual unequivocal refusal to remove it - as Murray, strangely, seems not to have walked out before it got to that point.

Thanks – I do try to be accurate, I shall amend the post.