Magistrate walks out over Muslim woman’s veil

A magistrate is facing an inquiry after refusing to deal with a defendant wearing a full Muslim veil, the Judiciary of England and Wales said yesterday.

Ian Murray walked out of the case at Manchester magistrates’ court yesterday because Zoobia Hussain, 32, of Crumpsall, Manchester, was covered by a hijab. Hussain’s lawyer, Judith Hawkins, said her client was “shocked and distressed” and found Mr Murray’s treatment of her “insensitive and unacceptable”.

Miss Hawkins said she would submit a formal written complaint to the court on Monday. When the complaint is received, the judiciary will launch an internal investigation into Mr Murray’s behaviour, a spokesman said.

A spokesman for the Ramadhan Foundation said: “It is despicable that the judiciary is ignoring the guidelines about the wearing of the hijab set out only in February by the Judicial Studies Board. They require that magistrates and judges be ‘sensitive’ to a woman’s religious requirement to wear the hijab and work around it when possible.”

Daily Telegraph, 29 June 2007

Mr Murray does however receive the support of the BNP who opine: “Those pushy Muslims never let up trying to change the way we have done things in this country for centuries.”

Update:  See “Veil row magistrate reprimanded”, BBC News, 8 January 2008