A witness called before the National Court in Spain has been expelled from the court after she refused to lift or remove her burka. The woman, the sister of an Islamic radical killed in a suicide bombing in 2005, was called as a witness in a case where nine alleged Islamists were in the dock, facing allegations of sending Mujahidin to carry out suicide attacks in Iraq. She explained that her religion forbade her from appearing in public without her burka.
Judge Javier Gómez Bermúdez expelled her from the court, but the two later reached a compromise, AFP reports. She agreed to testify on Monday without the part of her burka which normally covers the face “between the chin and the eyebrows” and with her back turned to the public in the courtroom.
The judge commented that “seeing her face I can see if she is lying or not, or if any question surprises her or not”. He said that he did not want to charge her with disobedience, but underlined that religious beliefs cannot be above civil law.
PARIS – A ban on the wearing of the burka in France would help stem the spread of the “cancer” of radical Islam, one of its female Muslim ministers has said.
Minister Fadela Amara told the Financial Times that a veil covering everything but the eyes represented “the oppression of women”. Ms Amara said she was “in favour of the burka not existing in my country”.
“The burka represents not a piece of fabric but the political manipulation of a religion that enslaves women and disputes the principle of equality between men and women – one of the founding principles of our republic.”
A ban on the wearing of the burka in France would help stem the spread of the “cancer” of radical Islam, one of its female Muslim ministers has said. Minister Fadela Amara claims that a veil covering everything but the eyes represented “the oppression of women”. Amara said she was “in favour of the burka not existing in my country”. The comments come as French MPs hold hearings on whether to ban the garment, which covers the body from head to toe.
Male police officers are no longer allowed to check the identity of a woman wearing a burka. Only the few female officers of the police force may do so. This is laid down in a new directive which the Federal Police have issued to its staff. Senator Dirk Claes (Christian democrat) believes that as a consequence persons wearing burkas will no longer be checked. The police unions say the new rule was issued “so as not to provoke”. “Nevertheless, male officers should also be allowed to check the identity of women wearing burkas,” says Philip Van Hamme, the chairman of the NSVP [police union].
Since The Globe and Mail daily newspaper began staffing its Afghanistan bureau full-time in 2006, it has sent a number of female news correspondents to the country. In light of the current controversy over Afghan women’s rights, this article features four journalists who reflect on their own experiences in the country. Jane Armstrong notes the invisibility of women in public spaces in Kandahar City; Christie Blatchford notes the hostility toward her presence in small villages in the countryside as she wore only a headscarf. Gloria Galloway claims, “The full-body veil is, after all, a constraining garment. Peripheral vision is eliminated and even the view straight ahead is hazy through the lace. It’s also hot and stuffy and awkward, with folds of fabric that catch in doors and wire fencing. But it provides security for both me and my fixer. And it sheds some light on how most women in southern Afghanistan experience the world outside their compounds.” The four journalists say nothing of the new family law on rape in marriage.
Social housing was denied to a family in Vénissieux, a suburb outside of Lyon, allegedly because the mother of the family wears a burka, a piece of clothing “counter to French values,” declared the Rhone city council. The landlord in question justified his position stating that, “She wears the burka, which characterizes a radical practicing of religion incompatible with the essential values of the French and the equality of the sexes.”
The HALDE organization (Haute autorité de lute contre les discriminations or High Authority Against Discrimination) has stated the decision amounts to discrimination and must be appealed. In the meantime, the family of three children is without housing.