ACLU asks court to allow Muslim women to wear veils

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and a group of domestic violence and religious organisations yesterday asked the Michigan supreme court to change a proposed rule that would allow judges to bar Muslim women wearing veils from testifying in court. A hearing on the matter is scheduled for 12 May.

“Judges should not deny anyone access to justice because of his or her religion,” said Michael Steinberg, legal director for the ACLU of Michigan. Steinberg said the ACLU and other groups asked the supreme court to add a sentence to the rule, saying “that no person shall be precluded from testifying on the basis of clothing worn because of a sincerely held belief”.

Steinberg said his request yesterday was signed by religious organisations including the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, the American Jewish Congress and Michigan Conference of the United Church of Christ. A group of domestic violence organisations also signed the request in order to allow women who have been sexually assaulted, for instance, to have their day in court without abandoning their beliefs.

Guardian, 1 May 2009

See also Michigan Messenger, 30 April 2009