Chicago lawyer wears Muslim garb while defending Gitmo 5 client

Bormann is defending Walid bin Attash, one of five top al-Qaidaoperatives on trial in Guantanamo Bay for allegedly conspiring in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The five men, who have come to be known collectively as the Gitmo 5, were arraigned there Saturday.

It was then that Bormann gained national notice, and a measure of criticism, for appearing in court in traditional Muslim clothing that left only her face showing and for asking one woman on the government team to consider dressing more modestly so her client could focus on the proceedings.

Bormann would not discuss reports of threats against her.

For her, the issue is a simple one of respecting the religious and cultural beliefs of a client. She said that since she was appointed to bin Attash’s case last year, she has always dressed conservatively out of deference to a client who believes he will violate a religious tenet if he looks at a woman who is immodestly dressed.

“My client has never seen my hair, has never seen my arms, has never seen my legs,” Bormann said in an interview Monday. “All of the defense counsel, all of the guards and everybody who works in Guantanamo Bay camp has seen me dressed like this. … I never thought in my wildest dreams that this would become an issue.”

“There is nothing provocative about what I did. This is a religious issue and a cultural issue for [some of these defendants],” Bormann said in the interview. “I want him to be able to fully concentrate on the proceedings at hand without any kind of interference or loss of focus.”

Muslim Sisters Sentenced for “Honour Attack” on Their Sibling


Last week, Winchester Crown Court dealt with a case of “honour-based domestic violence”, as the BBC reports. Two Muslim sisters (29 and 25), who cut off their younger sister’s (18) hair as a punishment for kissing a white man in April last year, were convicted of actual bodily harm. They received 12-month conditional discharges. In addition, their brother, who also witnessed the kissing and then assaulted the young man, was found guilty of assault. The Court decided that the two sisters had to pay £500 costs each; their brother was ordered to pay £250 costs. Since the attack, the youngest sibling had no contact with her sisters or parents and has been living with Gary Pain, the young man she was caught kissing last year.

Muslim Bride in Lyon, France Sues after ordered to remove headscarf

News Agencies – January 10, 2012

A newlywed Muslim couple are suing the mayor of Lyon after a local official insisted the bride remove her veil at the town hall wedding ceremony. The bride, identified only as Nassima A., was asked to remove a veil that covered her hair during her wedding ceremony at a town hall in Lyon in June.

The deputy mayor of Lyon’s 9th district, Fatiha Ben Ahmed, who asked the bride to bare her hair, told the bride that she looked “very pretty” without a veil.

The couple are now suing the mayor of Lyon Gérard Collomb and demanding €50,000 in damages. In France, officials who conduct wedding ceremonies are required to check the identities of the bride and groom. However in this case, Nassima’s veil was not covering her face.

Judge sides with Virginia prison system in lawsuit by Muslim inmate who wanted 1/8-inch beard

Court sides with Va. in not allowing Muslim inmate’s beard. Virginia’s prison system did not violate a Muslim inmate’s religious rights when it refused to allow him to grow a 1/8-inch beard, which he believes is required by his religion, a federal judge has ruled.

William Couch, a 50-year-old Sunni Muslim, is a medium-security prisoner serving multiple life sentences for rape and other convictions. He challenged the Virginia Department of Corrections’ grooming policy, which bans long hair and beards.

Virginia is among only about a dozen states that limit the length of inmates’ hair and beards, according to the American Correctional Chaplains Association. A handful of those allow religious accommodations for Rastafarians, Muslims, Sikhs, native Americans and others whose religious beliefs prohibit shaving or cutting their hair.

There is no hair policy for federal prisoners.

Lamya Kaddor and the Hijab

6 April 2011

In a piece for Qantara, Lamya Kaddor, scholar of Islamic studies in Germany, vividly explains why the Islamic veil in her opinion is no longer required in contemporary Germany and how it has become obsolete over time. She writes that the original purpose mentioned in the Quran (33:59), i.e. that the veil protects women from male desire, is no longer relevant today. Instead, wearing a headscarf may only expose the woman to harm in the form of discrimination. A well-functioning legal system is the modern day equivalent of social rules on protection of the individual.

In the course of her discussion, Kaddor gives a variety of evidence why the headscarf no longer serves its original purpose, ranging from the fact that the sight of hair no longer is a sexual stimulous per se and that a moral life does not depend on head covering to regretting the often very male perspective of Quran exegesis.

Salon worker in the Greater Toronto Area claims she was fired for her headscarf

The Toronto Star – February 10, 2011

A young Markham, Ontario woman who works as an esthetician claims she was fired for wearing an Islamic headscarf because the salon “promotes hair.” Mehwish Ali, a 22-year-old esthetician was fired a day after she says the co-owner told her the hijab was unacceptable.
“I was devastated when I heard that,” Ali told the Star. “I have worn the hijab for more than 10 years and never felt any kind of discrimination.” The co-owner of the franchise near Highway 401 and Brock Rd, categorically denies that. “This is a performance issue, strictly a performance issue,” he said.
Ali disagrees and has turned to the Human Rights Legal Support Centre for help.
She said she wore a headscarf for the interview, which was conducted by the store manager. A week later, Ali was hired and her job entailed doing facials, manicures, pedicures and waxing services. It had nothing to do with hair, she pointed out.

Halal hairdressing launched in Scotland

24 October 2010

With its frosted windows, CCTV cameras, and tightly monitored security entrance, it is going to be one of Aberdeen’s most secretive business enterprises. So, you could be forgiven for wondering if the shop has something to hide. Well, it does — its customers. Or rather it is the customers who want to remain hidden. For this is Scotland’s first ‘halal hairdressers’ — a beauty salon which conforms to the strict rules of Islam; a place were Muslim women who wear the veil or headscarf can be seen uncovered without the risk of the gaze of men.

Discreet Creative Hairdressing, scheduled to open in three weeks, is the brainchild of 21-year-old Mahida Iqbal and her husband of nine months, Fueb Mieh. The salon will be a ‘man-free zone’. The frosted windows will stop any inquisitive men passing by from gawping at the clients. No-one can get in without passing through a secure buzzer entry system with CCTV. All this means that the Muslim ladies who have come for a new hair-do can remove their headscarves safe in the knowledge that only other women can see them.

“It is somewhere where customers can feel comfortable, feel pampered and relaxed, knowing that no-one is going to come in and disturb them,” Iqbal added. “Muslim husbands can feel relaxed knowing that their wife is safe, where no man is going to be able to see them, and then they can come home and show their beauty. Muslim clients have never experienced this ever. It’s a great feeling”, Mahida Iqbal says.

Girl beaten for being too westernized

The brother (20) and father (40) of an 18-year-old girl were arrested for domestic abuse and grievous bodily harm. The girl dreamt of running a hair salon, and she wanted to have fun, to go out with her Italian boyfriend and friends. But to her Muslim Turkish family, this was unacceptable. The two men threatened and beat the girl to prevent her from going out with her Italian boyfriend. The young woman escaped to a safe house with the help of a friend, where, when speaking with the mayor of the village, she expressed her desire to not return to her family, fearing further violence. According to police investigations, it seems that domestic violence was not new to this family.

Montreal designer creates sleek sports hijab

Industrial designer Elham Seyed Javad has taken up the cause begun in 2007 when a Muslim girl was barred from a soccer match for wearing a hijab. Then, five Muslim girls were ejected from a tae kwon do tournament for the same reason. “I was so distressed when I learned about it,” Seyed Javad said. “Your beliefs shouldn’t prevent you from playing sports.” So, the 26-year-old University of Montreal graduate designed a sleek sports hijab, which fits tightly around the head and is part of a sports shirt underneath.

Seyed Javad, who is Muslim but doesn’t wear a hijab herself, emphasizes that her “Resport” is more than a hijab. It can be used by anyone, male or female, who needs to keep their hair in check during their activities. They were tested by some Muslim athletes at a martial arts tournament last weekend and passed with flying colours, Seyed Javad said. The problem of headscarves in sports is that sometimes the ends come untucked, even though athletes try to pin them inside a shirt.

French Journalist Responds to Obama´s Defense of the Headscarf

This article responds to U.S. President Obama´s speech to the Muslim World in Cairo, particularly his defense of Muslim women wearing the headscarf in Western countries. Obama noted that he rejected the positions of some Western nations and that to cover her hair does not mean that a woman is unequal, a position contrary to the French secular position on visible religious signs in public schools. Phillippe Gélie also noted the presence of Dalia Magahed, a veiled woman who is one of Obama´s advisors.