Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Muslim woman lawyer refuses to take off veil

London, Nov 8 - Amid raging controversy over theissue of veil, a senior judge in the UK has been asked by animmigration tribunal to decide whether a female Muslimadvocate may wear the 'hijab' in court.The question was referred to Justice Sir Henry Hodge,president of the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal, by animmigration judge at Hanley, who had difficulty in hearinglegal executive Shabnam Mughal, dressed completely in blackwith a full-face veil.The judge, George Glossop, asked Mughal yesterday if shewould "kindly remove her veil to assist with communication",the Daily Telegraph reported today."It will allow me to see your face and I cannot hear youas well as I would like," he told her.She declined to do so and Immigration Judge Glossopbriefly adjourned the case. Later in the day, he againg askedher to remove the veil.When Mughal again refused to remove her veil, the judgeadjourned the case until next Monday, pending consultationswith Justice Hodge.Mughal, in her twenties, who was representing a Sikhbusinessman challenging the government's refusal to permithis nephew to visit Britain, was not taking media calls.Javid Hussain, practice manager at the Law Partnershipin Coventry, where Mughal works, said she had worn her veilwhile appearing before tribunals in different parts of thecountry for at least past two years.In recent weeks, the veil has become the centre ofcontroversy in the UK after Jack Straw, leader of the Houseof Commons, said the 'hijab' was a barrier to communication.Prime Minister Tony Blair had termed the full-face veil as a"mark of separation" between communities.

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