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Trainee lawyer ejected from court for refusing to remove hijab

23rd Feb 2018
Trainee lawyer ejected from court for refusing to remove hijab

Asmae Belfakir was given an ultimatum by Judge Giancarlo Mozzarelli to either remove her hijab or leave the courtroom (Photo: Facebook)

Nadine Osman

A trainee lawyer spoke of her humiliation after a judge kicked her out of a court in Italy for refusing to remove her hijab. At a hearing in Regional Administrative Court in Bologna, earlier this month, Moroccan-born Asmae Belfakir was given an ultimatum by Judge Giancarlo Mozzarelli to either remove her hijab or leave the courtroom.

Speaking on January 22 Belfakir said the judge told her: “‘If you want to stay in this courtroom, you must remove it.’ I replied, ‘I’m not going to remove it. I’m going out.’”

She said that as she left he told the court: “Yes, that’s because of the respect of our culture and traditions.”

“Hearing a judge speaking of culture and tradition in that context made me feel really bad. I was just there to learn a job, to understand how the law should be applied. I wasn’t there to be humiliated because of my religion,” she said.

“I heard a lot of things about that judge; his modus operandi and his personal thoughts,” Belfakir said.

“I’m pretty sure that he would never have asked a nun to remove her veil, and I’m quite sure because a nun is not insulting his culture as I did by wearing the scarf. The law should protect people and their freedom of religion – as it is not affecting in a negative way the others – no matter how difficult it gets.”

Coordinator of the Association of Muslims of Bologna, Yassine Lafram, said that there is no law prohibiting the hijab in a court. The Association of Young Italian Lawyers also denounced the judge’s decision as “inconceivable” and a violation of the constitution.

The most incredible thing, in this case, is that Asmae Belfakir’s thesis concerned “women’s bodies and Islamic law”.

Luigi Foffani , Dean of Law at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, where Belfakir graduated with a master’s degree in Law, branded the judge’s decision “severely discriminatory and contrasts with constitutional principles, to which we must constantly inspire ourselves in the exercise of our functions.”

Foffani said the ban was made “in the application of an alleged prohibition to attend a hearing with the head covered probably non-existent within the administrative jurisdiction”.

Belfakir was allowed to work in another “court in Bologna wearing the hijab.

One Response to “Trainee lawyer ejected from court for refusing to remove hijab”

AlsahdiqFebruary 25, 2018

The judge need to be asked if he will ask a nun to remove her hijab?

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