Top British judge legalizes Islamic veil in court

Muslim women should be allowed to wear full-face veil while appearing in court, Britain's most senior judge suggests

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The President of the British Supreme Court Lord Neuberge said, judges and courtrooms will allow women to dress as they see fit, under lining principle of respect toward different customs and religious backgrounds, according to the Guardian.

Lord Neuberger urges courtrooms all over Britain to be sensitive and considerate when it comes to other cultures’ choices of wardrobe, in attempt to avoid bias against poor and foreign defendants.

Lord Neuberger released a lengthy speech entitled “Fairness in the courts: the best we can do,” explained that judges tend to come from privileged backgrounds and warned of the ramifications.

“A white male public school judge presiding in a trial of an unemployed traveller from Eastern Europe accused of assaulting or robbing a white female public school woman will, I hope, always be unbiased,” he added.

The case of Rebekah Dawson raised the veil debate two years ago, when 22-year-old charged with witness intimidation, refused to remove her full face veil “Niqab” to show her face to the jury, and later sentenced to six months in prison at Blackfriars Crown Court after changing her plea.

The actual charge against Dawson is one count of intimidating a witness, in Finsbury Park Mosque in north-east London. A volunteer caretaker employed there claimed that she had threatened him with consequences if he testified in a court case that was pending against her husband.

Other European Union countries have endorsed similar legal acts. For instance, Germany's highest court has overturned a 2004 ban on the Islamic veil and head gear for state school teachers, saying that it violated personal and religious freedom.

TRTWorld and agencies