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Quebec Judge Wouldn’t Hear Case Of Woman Wearing Hijab


As Sana Saeed put it “Justice isn’t blind in Quebec” not surprising given the climate in Quebec. This is similar to another court case a couple of year back in Georgia when a judge jailed Sabreen Abdulrahmaan to 10 days in prison for wearing a headscarf to court.

Quebec judge wouldn’t hear case of woman wearing hijab

Judge Eliana Marengo is heard telling Rania El-Alloul courtroom is a secular place in audio obtained by CBC

By Steve Rukavina, CBC News Posted: Feb 26, 2015 4:28 PM ET

A Quebec judge told a woman appearing in her Montreal courtroom she would not hear her case until she removed her hijab.

In an audio recording of the proceedings obtained by CBC News, Judge Eliana Marengo is heard telling Rania El-Alloul on Tuesday that the courtroom is a secular place and that she is not suitably dressed.

“Hats and sunglasses for example, are not allowed.  And I don’t see why scarves on the head would be either,” Marengo says in the recording.

“The same rules need to be applied to everyone. 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, or any other garment not suitable for a court proceeding.”

El-Alloul was in court to apply to get her car back after it was seized by Quebec’s automobile insurance board, the SAAQ.

‘The judge should have known better. It’s not the first time somebody walks into a courtroom with a religious dress’– Sameer Zuberi, Canadian Muslim Forum’

The car was seized after police stopped El-Alloul’s son for driving with a suspended licence. In such cases, the board keeps the car for a month. If someone wants it back sooner, they have to appear before a Court of Quebec judge to make a request. That’s what El-Alloul was trying to do Tuesday afternoon.

When El-Alloul first appeared before Marengo, the judge asked her why she had a scarf on her head. El-Alloul replied that it was because she is a Muslim. The judge then said she would take a 30-minute recess.

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  • George Carty

    No, I was simply arguing that if someone showed up to court in a bikini it would almost certainly NOT be viewed as appropriate dress.

  • JAZ Z

    That’s not so important dear, as long as the plaintiff’s face was seen and completely identifiable, then there was no need for the judge to demand uncover the head which is already, naturally covered with hair. This is nothing but a show of mean mentality of the so called liberals.

  • George Carty

    Actually, the face veil is Niqab — Abaya is the loose flowing dress.

  • George Carty

    The Middle East though has too many people and not enough water — that’s the main reason why Syria is currently a killing field.

    People don’t commit genocide out of racial or religious hatred — they commit genocide to get resources (with Daesh it is water, but with the Nazis it was farmland), and invent racial or religious hatred to justify it.

  • George Carty

    I’d delete the “against Christianity” from ShunTheRightWhale’s list, precisely because of the nun thing.

  • George Carty

    Aren’t most hijab-haters women though?

  • George Carty

    Islamically it is unacceptable for a woman to show skin (other than face and hands) anywhere where unrelated men are around, Western modesty standards are more context-dependent.

    In the West, a bikini is considered reasonable in a swimming pool or at the beach, but in almost any other public situation it is considered unacceptably immodest.

  • JAZ Z

    More surprising, that judge is also a woman. Need to check her thoroughly, may be she is male from inside.

  • JAZ Z

    Even the Christian nuns too wear scarf, so what’s the point. How it becomes non secular? The non secular oppression is agreeable to the judge, but a piece of cloth is so objectionable…strange!
    If a girl comes top less or in a bikini would be admissible. But, some body wants to be more sophisticated and polite is unacceptable. It is nothing but discrimination against a particular faith. How hostile and prejudiced have become the so called “secular” Govt. Missionary, where females have the freedom to remove clothes in public but wearing an extra piece of cloth is objectionable! What a freedom!

  • JAZ Z

    By the way, it should be “whom you’re talking to with the face covered…”
    Anyway, this is the silliest argument. Don’t you understand the difference between a scarf (Arabic: Hijab) and a veil (Abaya). You can say Islamic if it’s a veil, but didn’t you read above, it’s a scarf stupid, which doesn’t cover the face. Don’t you see the pic with the title? That’s worn by anybody, even Christian nuns wear it. Read the judge’s comment below:
    ““The same rules need to be applied to everyone. I will therefore not hear you if you are wearing a SCARF on your head…..”

  • JAZ Z

    Well justified…

  • JAZ Z

    Basically Islam is the only, most tolerant faith, rather way of life. Everything is debated and justified, that’s the reason even westerners who observe it closely can’t resist themselves of acquiring Islamic way of life and embrace it. More females than males.

  • Reynardine

    1960: Male decoy cops in Los Angeles pretending to be women in order to catch muggers

  • ShunTheRightWhale
  • Diego Hernandez

    More the Quebec variety of secularism than Canadian as a whole, probably. Quebec’s French-derived society has historically followed French trends. The particularly French variety of secularism seems to be one of these.

  • Trimmercastle42

    And here I thought that Justice was blind, guess I was wrong.

  • I am in Bahrain right now. I came across quite a few western individuals (women to be exact) that had western attire and some shorts as well. Besides Saudi Arabia that mandates the abaya (for Muslims and Non-Muslims alike) and prohibits other places of worship (besides Islamic), all other Muslim countries let people of other religion be, be it their attire, their religious places or any religious symbols. I am sure someone will bring up hates crimes against non-Muslims in Muslim countries which happen against Muslims in non-Muslim countries as well. So ignoring that and considering the fact that Muslims don’t make up rules against non-Muslims and assure their religious freedom, are we to assume that Muslim societies are more tolerant of other people’s faiths? I tend to think so.

  • Reynardine

    We understand secularism to be nonsectarian. I gather that in some foreign jurisdictions , it is understood to be antisectarian.

  • HSkol

    OK, Toshiro Mifune in Throne of Blood? Yes?

  • cmyfe .

    What if a cancer patient wants to hide his/her head and wears something? I suppose this judge would say take it off?

    Also it means this so called judge would only serve the needs of a person belonging from a particular mindset and style? Is this justice? What law is breached by a headscarf?

  • mindy1

    Why does the judge care? Does a head scarf make her speech unclear?

  • HSkol

    The judge in this instance sounds not unlike an anti-Islam activist – or, at the very least, someone that doesn’t understand how “fashion” garb A (baseball hat) cannot be reasonably equated with cultural garb B (headscarf). Either this person is simply not qualified (intelligent enough) to be a judge, secularism in Canada is different than it is in the USA, or secularism has changed from my more traditional US understanding of it. Or – maybe a bit of all.

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