The New Arab Logo

Breaking News
Islamic veil allowed in legal hearings, Canadian court reaffirms Open in fullscreen

The New Arab & agencies

Islamic veil allowed in legal hearings, Canadian court reaffirms

The Coalition Avenir Quebec administration seeks to prohibit the wearing of religious symbols [Getty]

Date of publication: 5 October, 2018

Share this page:
  • 0

  • twitter
A judge cannot refuse to take testimony from a woman because she is wearing an Islamic veil, the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled on Wednesday.
A judge cannot refuse to take testimony from a woman because she is wearing an Islamic veil, a Canadian court ruled on Wednesday. 

A citizen may wear any religious attire in a courtroom so long as their "religious beliefs are sincere" and they do not "conflict with another person's constitutional rights," the Quebec Court of Appeal ruled unanimously.

The ruling comes after a woman was scolded by a judge in a courtroom because she wore the headscarf.  

"No party challenges that the courtrooms of the Court of Quebec - and for that matter all courtrooms in Quebec as throughout Canada - are spaces of religious neutrality," the three-judge appeal panel found, Canadian Press reported.

"This does not mean, however, that judges may rely on the neutrality of the courts alone as a justification for preventing litigants from accessing a courtroom simply because they are expressing sincerely held religious beliefs."

Montrealer Rania El-Alloul, a Muslim, was expelled from a courtroom in 2015 for wearing a hijab. Judge Eliana Marengo of the Court of Quebec had cited a court ruling that every person must be "appropriately dressed" and compared El-Alloul's headscarf "to a hat or sunglasses."

But Marengo did not consider the right of El-Alloul "to religious expression," the three appeals judges ruled.

Wednesday's ruling comes as a newly elected Coalition Avenir Quebec administration works on a ruling that prohibits civil servants in positions of authority from wearing religious symbols.

The planned legislation will affect judges, teachers and police officers.  

The New ArabComments

Most Popular

Most Popular

    Read More