TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Court ruling fires U.K. debate on Muslim veils

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Reuters
Monday, Sept. 16, 2013, 9:12 p.m.
 

LONDON — A British judge ruled on Monday that a Muslim woman could not give evidence at her trial wearing a full-face veil, sparking debate about whether Britain should follow other European countries and ban Islamic veils in schools and public places.

Senior politicians played down the likelihood of a ban when one minister said the coalition government should consider forbidding full-face veils, or niqabs, in schools, a measure that is gaining support from some members of parliament.

“My own view, very strongly held, is that we shouldn't end up like other countries issuing edicts or laws from parliament telling people what they should or should not wear,” said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, leader of the coalition's junior centrist party, the Liberal Democrats.

“This is a free country, and people going about their own business should be free to wear what they wish.”

The case comes as the government considers how to better integrate Britain's 2.7 million Muslims without restricting the right to freedom of religious expression.

The conundrum took on added significance after four British Islamists carried out deadly suicide bombings in London in 2005.

Britain has steered clear of following the examples of France and Belgium, where it is illegal for women to wear full-face veils in public.

But in the significant ruling, a Muslim woman, who argued that removing her veil in court breached her human rights, was told she could not wear it when giving evidence.

“The niqab has become the elephant in the courtroom,” said Judge Peter Murphy, who made the compromise that she could wear her veil at all other times during a trial later this year over accusations she had intimidated a witness in another case.

Murphy said it would “drive a coach and horses through the way in which justice has been administered in the courts of England and Wales for centuries” if jurors could not observe her reactions.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read World

  1. Comets hold life building blocks
  2. Senate to grill United Nations agency chief Amano on Iran nuclear pact
  3. Afghan intelligence: Taliban leader Mullah Omar dead 2 years
  4. ISIS suspected in abduction of Indian citizens in Libya
  5. Al-Qaida group in Syria targeted by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes
  6. 23 Russian troops killed when barracks collapse in Siberia
  7. Obama knocks Huckabee, Trump for slide in Republican rhetoric
  8. Debris on French island possibly that of missing Malaysia Airlines flight
  9. Firebombing kills Palestinian toddler, wounds family; Jewish settlers blamed