Rabat - A Quebec judge told a Muslim woman she would not hear her case until she removes her Hijab (head scarf).
Rabat – A Quebec judge told a Muslim woman she would not hear her case until she removes her Hijab (head scarf).
Rania El Alloul (pictured), a Muslim Canadian woman from Montreal was denied access to the Canadian legal system because she was wearing the Islamic veil.
The judge Eliana Marengo was heard in a recording obtained by Canadian media telling Rania that her garment is “not suitable for a court proceeding.”
Rania went to court because her car was impounded by Quebec’s automobile insurance board when her son was caught driving with a suspended driving license.
The provincial judge could be heard in the recording asking the Muslim woman about her Hijab. “Why are you putting this scarf around your head?” she said.
“In my opinion the courtroom is a secular place and a secular space. There are no religious symbols in this room, not on the walls not on the persons,” she added.
The judge told Rania that she either removes the head scarf or apply for a postponement and consult a lawyer. The Muslim woman said that she did not want to postpone the case and could not afford a lawyer because she is on welfare, separated and living with three boys.
The judge then decided to put the case in hold saying: “I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a scarf on your head, just as I would not allow a person to appear before me wearing a hat or sunglasses on his or her head.”
Rania went back home without her car. She told Canadian media that she felt as she was not treated as a human being. “I don’t want this thing to happen to any other lady. This is not the work of a judge. She doesn’t deserve to be a judge,” she added.
An online campaign to raise funds for Rania to purchase a vehicle has been launched in the wake of what happened. The goal was set at $20,000. However, the goal was met in one day, and more than $50,000 has been raised.
Rania, who came from Kuwait to Canada twelve years ago, said she is considering filing a formal complaint against the judge.
The judge did respond to media requests to comment on the incident.