Is the British establishment giving in to a harmful aspect of Islamic fundamentalism? On 16 September, a British judge said a Muslim defendant could wear the veil for all parts of her trial, expect when giving evidence to the jury. According to the British newspaper, The Daily Mail, the judge's decision made "legal history" .
The judge also said the defendant did not have to testify in open court with her face uncovered. Instead, she may choose to give evidence via live video link or behind a screen shielding her from the wider courtroom, with only the judge, jurors and her counsel able to see her face. He also ordered that there be no artist's sketch of the defendant while her face is uncovered.
In addition, Judge Murphy's decision was at odds with a previous ruling; in March last year a judge at the same court told a woman wearing a niqab that she could not sit as a juror for an attempted murder trial.
The judge's decisions came after the defendant -- a Muslim convert -- claimed it was against her beliefs to allow any man other than her husband to see her face -- even though she only started wearing the veil last May.
Jack Straw, British Parliament member and former Home Secretary wrote an article in which he confirmed: "I also spoke to a national group of distinguished Islamic scholars and learnt that the injunction to wear the veil did not come directly from the Prophet Mohammed but was based upon a much later interpretation of the message of the Koran."
What Mr. Straw said is right. Not only that, but Islamic Sharia law bans women from wearing the niqab in Mecca during worshiping rituals. A hadith (teachings of Muhammad) says: "a woman in Mecca is not allowed to wear a niqab nor gloves." This text was confirmed by Islamic scholars as Saheeh [exact] by renowned Islamic Scholar Al-Albani [Al-Sahih Al-Jami'i, number 7445].
Women who want to wear niqab in British courtrooms and schools, then, comfortably ignore the fact that they are not allowed to do so in Mecca?
On 11 September; Birmingham Metropolitan College was forced to drop its campus ban on the niqab, a rule since 2005. This reversal came after an anonymous prospective student complained to her local paper; she said she was being discriminated against by the college because of the ban on the niqab. Nonetheless, the college had to drop the ban after Islamists in the UK launched an online petition attracting 9,000 signatures for protests against the college.