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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

[] UK Court orders removal of Veil

Tue Sep 17, 2013 2:02 pm (PDT) . Posted by:

"Abhijit Sengupta"

UK court ruling sparks veil debate again.
Press Trust of India
London, 16 September

A British judge today ruled that a Muslim woman can stand trial wearing a

full-face niqab but must remove it to give evidence, a landmark
decision that has sparked a debate on veils.
Judge Peter Murphy made the ruling at Blackfriars Crown Court in London,
where a Muslim woman is due to stand trial on a charge of intimidating a
witness, which she denies.
The 22-year-old woman has previously refused to remove her niqab and
reveal her face in front of any man. But the order means that if she
continues to take the same stand during her trial, she could be jailed
for contempt of court.
If judges in different cases in different places took differing
approaches (to the niqab), the result would be judicial anarchy, Mr
Murphy said in his ruling.
He said he would offer the woman a screen to shield her from public view but she had to be seen by him, the jury and lawyers.
She would be permitted to keep her face covered while sitting in the dock.
The woman claimed that she has a right to wear the veil under Article 9
of the European Convention on Human Rights. But Mr Murphy argued that
the claim amounts to dictating to the court how it should conduct its
At a previous hearing, the issue of her identity was resolved when the
woman removed her veil for a woman police officer who verified her
identity. The issue of veils has sparked a huge debate in Britain over
the past few weeks.
Britain' s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg courted controversy by saying
that it was inappropriate for students to wear the full veil in
It followed a call by fellow Liberal Democrat minister in the Home
Office, Jeremy Browne, for a national debate on whether the niqab should
be banned by certain institutions.
“There is a genuine debate about whether girls should feel a compulsion
to wear a veil when society deems children to be unable to express
personal choices about other areas like buying alcohol, smoking or
getting married, he was quoted as saying by the Daily Telegraph.
Prime Minister David Cameron' s office soon issued a statement confirming
that he would support local authorities, NHS trusts and branches of the
civil service that want to ban staff from covering their faces. The
Prime Minister doesn't believe parliament should legislate on what
people do and don't wear on their local high street. Nonetheless, that
is not incompatible with institutions having dress codes. Schools are an
example. It is for institutions to make this decision a spokesperson


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