What is wrong with this country?
Fury as top judge gives in to Muslim hardliners on veils
By Paul Broster and Martin Stote
A HIGH Court judge sparked outrage last night after he gave lawyers the green light to wear veils in court.
The ruling was made after a Muslim solicitor twice refused an immigration judge’s request to reveal her face – despite him explaining that he could not hear her speak.
Mr Justice Hodge, who was asked to issue guidance over the case, yesterday defended the right of lawyers to wear the niqab and said it was “important to be sensitive”.
His decision was widely condemned by critics, who claimed he had caved in to Islamic hardliners.
The controversy follows the case of Shabnam Mughal, who refused to remove her veil at a tribunal in Stoke-on-Trent on Monday.
Judge George Glossop told the 27-year-old lawyer he could not hear her properly and asked to see her face to “aid communication”.
After the case ground to a halt because of her defiance, the row was referred to Mr Justice Hodge, who is president of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal.
In his ruling, which is likely to set a precedent for all courts, he said Miss Mughal had appeared at previous hearings in the black niqab without complaint.
He added: “It is important to be sensitive in such cases. The presumption is that if a representative before an asylum immigration tribunal wishes to wear a veil, has the agreement of his or her client and can be heard reasonably clearly by all parties to the proceedings, then the representative should be allowed to do so.”
David Davies, Conservative MP for Monmouth, said the decision caved in to Islamic pressure.
He added: “British courts are there to determine whether the truth is being told. How can they do that if they cannot hear? Allowing people to hide their faces in a court where all should be laid bare in the search for truth and justice is not good enough.
“If we were in a Muslim court we would be expected to abide by their rules on dress. So why is it that this lady can work in a British court and wear whatever she likes?”
Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley, said: “It is outrageous that Mr Justice Hodge has not defended his judge in this case. British justice has always been based on the principle of being completely open. How can it be open if a lawyer will not show her face?”
Massoud Shadjareh, of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, said: “Just because someone wears a veil in court does not mean they can’t do their job properly.
“We should take pride in the fact that our society recognises the rights and requirements of minorities and allows us the freedom to practise our religion. It is something that we should celebrate.”
But Labour MP Shahid Malik, one of Westminster’s four Muslim MPs, said: “Where a veil inhibits you from carrying out your job or your role in life, then your right to wear it is compromised.”
Mr Justice Hodge, who is married to Government minister Margaret Hodge, said that if a judge cannot hear a lawyer “then the interests of justice are not served” and “other arrangements will need to be made”.
The ruling will remain in place pending a review by Lord Phillips, the Lord Chief Justice, who has asked a legal committee to investigate.
Miss Mughal was unavailable for comment last night but friends insisted she plans to continue wearing the veil.
Additional reporting: Chris Riches
What is wrong with this country?
It's one particular minority....
In my opinion, if you don't like the law of the land then f*ck off to somewhere that is already like that.
Short and sweet.
Its a sad day indeed, a sad day. Thank the lord the judge in the US threw out the case with the woman wearing the veil.
If there's not a problem hearing while veiled, then there's not a problem. A 'speak louder' might have sovled the previous problem, instead of clearing the court on a whim.He added: “It is important to be sensitive in such cases. The presumption is that if a representative before an asylum immigration tribunal wishes to wear a veil, has the agreement of his or her client and can be heard reasonably clearly by all parties to the proceedings, then the representative should be allowed to do so.”
If I’m ever called for jury duty I’m putting one of my wife’s stockings over my head capped off with a red rubber glove on top. A tutu and some ox blood DM’s. Let’s see what “his honour” says.
Wait a minute! thats not a laywer at all!
Well, initially I had the usual WTF you must be joking kind of response but then I thought: what's really going on here?
Now, I've got it all figured out; Mr Jusitice Hodge here had a brazilian cleaner see, his bit on the side, after a hard day of being very judicial and banging his little hammer thingy. Now she then had a lesbian affair with Miss Mughal which they videotaped. Now Miss Mughal found out about her fling with the judge, and being a proud women and revenge being sweet, seduced Mister Justice with her feminine ways and sexy veil, and taped it as well, including allsorts of perversions (one can only imagine). The next bits obvious- she was recruited by AQ to further the cause in Britain and was tasked to blackmail the poor Mr Hodge, now thoroughly out of his depth, into allowing her to wear her veil in court- to set legal precedent.....