Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Walid comments further on issue of face veil in Hamtramck court

On October 11th in a small claims court in Hamtramck, Michigan, a Muslim female was asked by a judge without explanation to remove her face veil if she wanted her case to be heard against a rental car company. The woman explained that she wore the face veil due to her religious conviction, and the judge stated that he was dismissing her case.

Some Non-Muslims have mistakely made this an issue that she is trying to impose her religious views on the court. Comments such as "if she can wear the face veil in court, then I want to see the 10 Commandments hanging up in court too" are such an example. Unlike the 10 Commandments hanging up in court, however, the veil is an issue of freedom to exercise the 1st amendment, not establishing or projecting articles of faith within a court. She is not imposing and asking other women, Muslim or Non-Muslim women, to wear a veil in court.

Some Muslims think that this is an issue of Islamic law, which it is not. The courts of America do not operate nor factor in Islamic law in their decision making. If judges in America were to consider this, there would be untrained judges taking on or favoring opinions of jurists that fit their own sensibilities or biases in some cases. Thus even a Muslim who would argue that under a particular school of thought, a Muslim woman should uncover her face in front of a judge is a mute point. Besides, this would be a legal of opinion of perhaps some jurists of one school of thought within the 4 Sunni, 3 Shi`ah and the Ibadi school of thought. (8 schools of thought in Islamic law) There is no one set Islamic law or shari`ah as some Muslims fantasize over.

The whole matter comes down to two points, accommodation and dignity. If a person's bona fide religious beliefs can be accommodated within reason in a court, they should be respected. A judge, or a civil human being for that matter, has the responsibility to address another with clarity of expression and not be offensive.

Seeing a face of a person, especially in a non-criminal matter, does not confirm or deny the veracity of testimony. Hence even in criminal cases, rape victims or people in the witness protection program testify behind screens, even with their voices electronically altered. Blind judges have sat on the bench in Michigan where they saw no faces or material evidence for that matter.

1 comment:

DivineWomb said...

The last paragraph - excellent points made. If possible, your org should try contacting the judge (or his superior) and "raise hell." Peace.

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