Muslim woman in Canada ordered to remove hijab in court

Montreal, Sep 23 (IANS) A Muslim woman in Canada, who was denied a court appearance because of her hijab, sought legal clarification on the rights of Quebecers, who want access to justice while wearing religious attire.

Rania El-Alloul’s lawyer appeared in Quebec Superior Court on Thursday seeking a declaratory judgment that would clarify that litigants have the right to wear a hijab or other religious attire in court, Toronto Star reported.

“We are seeking a declaration that what happened is wrong and she has the right to wear the hijab,” Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey told the Canadian press after the hearing.

In February 2015, a judge of a Quebec court told El-Alloul that her case involving the province’s automobile insurance board and her impounded vehicle would not proceed as long as she was wearing the hijab in court.

She refused to remove it and the judge put the case off. It was ultimately settled when the car was returned.

Grey said on Thursday that he believes that the judge’s decision regarding the hijab violated his client’s charter rights, but said opposing lawyers argued that the issue could not be settled by a declaratory judgment.

He said that a judicial complaint he and another lawyer filed against the judge on El-Alloul’s behalf was rejected in February.

El-Alloul, who was present for the proceedings, has been doing well since last year’s high-profile proceedings, Grey said.

Last year, El-Alloul refused more than $38,070 raised on her behalf through a crowdfunding campaign, suggesting the money be used to tell others’ stories.

Despite her complaint being rejected, Grey said his client is still very interested in having her rights declared.

“She is doing it on principle,” he said, adding “She is doing it because what happened was wrong.”

–IANS

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