Thursday, 19 September 2013

UK judge rules Muslim can cover face during trial.

UK judge rules Muslim can cover face during trial.

Woman must remove veil when giving testimony, says court in controversial decision

A Muslim woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons
 arrives at a London court, where a judge has ruled that she
 will be allowed to stand trial while wearing a full-face veil
, but that she must remove it when giving evidence.
 (photo credit: AP/Stefan Rousseau)
LONDON | AP | 19 Sep 2013 ::  In Britain this week, a judge struck a blow for religious freedom. Or for secularism. It all depends on whom you ask.Judge Peter Murphy ruled that a female Muslim defendant may stand trial wearing a face-covering veil — but must remove it when giving evidence. The compromise ruling had some insisting it backs a woman’s religious right to wear the veil, and others saying it shows British justice remains independent and won’t bow to religious demands.

The case has reignited a debate about Muslim veils that has flared across Europe, sparking protests and exacerbating religious tensions in several countries. Those tensions exist in Britain, too, and attacks on Muslims and mosques rose after the May slaying of an off-duty British soldier by Islamist extremists.
But both the court ruling and the interpretations of it suggest that Britain is facing the issue with a streak of pragmatism, and there is little appetite from the center-right coalition government for a ban like that introduced in France.
This is a country where many politicians agree with the aide to former Prime Minister Tony Blair who famously said: “We don’t do religion.”
“I don’t think the government should tell women what they should be wearing,” Home Secretary Theresa May, the country’s interior minister, said Tuesday.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg agreed: “We shouldn’t end up like other countries issuing edicts or laws from Parliament telling people what they should or should not wear.”
The veil has become an emotive issue in European countries that are home to visible and growing Muslim populations.
Two years ago France became the first country to ban face-covering veils such as the niqab or burqa anywhere in public. The officially secular nation had already banned Muslim headscarves and other “ostentatious” religious symbols from classrooms.(Courtesy:Dawn)

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