back to article Refusal to unveil scuppers French refusal-to-unveil trial

A burqa-clad woman yesterday rather brilliantly exposed a fatal flaw in France's ban on the traditional Muslim garb when she attended court to face a charge of "covering her face in a public place", and then simply refused to take off her burqa for the hearing. The 31-year-old mum, identified only by her first name Hind, was …

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I fail to see the problem

Just have her in court, in her damn veil, and when she inevitably loses, jail her, in her veil.

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Happy

Instant satire; just add French officialdom

A silly law; thought up by racists and peddled by closet racists is made to look silly. Bravo!

Now.. a law that simply defines it as 'not discrimination' if you refuse to talk/interact/deal with anyone who is hiding their face or masking their appearance; that's another thing.. It allows fuel stations to say 'no fuel until you remove your helmet'; corner grocers: 'no slouching around the shop with your hoodie up'; swimming pools: 'no' you can't go in the ladies changing in that burkqa since you could be a man' etc..

.. Ie' it's quite possible to put in place a law that makes it clear that covering ones face routinely is -your- social problem, not ours.. and has consequences in a world where trust is low.. But also send that message without pandering to the outright racists who support outright bans.

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FAIL

Racist?

Against who? Burka-wearers? Women? Islamists?

None of these are a race.

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Back up a moment...

What has race to do with this?

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Mushroom

oops

Oh sorry; did I say 'Racist'; If I'd said 'Bigoted' would you have objected? They're the same thing anyway. Or does having your bigotry defined for what it is.. Racism.. make you uncomfortable?

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: oops

They're not synonyms. 'Racist' is more specific, 'bigoted' is more general.

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Joke

None of these are a race.

Just a minute - aren't women a different species?

(Tongue in cheek, Sarah!)

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Live according to religion?

As I recall (someone please correct me if Im wrong) the burqa is not a religious garment? That being the case, the French need to grow a pair and take the thing off her. If it is a religious garment, then the French law would itself already be contradictory to EU law.

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Anonymous Coward

contempt of court surely?

Fine them "in absentia".

They should also do people who refuse to take off motorcycle helmets in public, men who wear hats indoors or in a car, or numpties who wear shades when its not sunny, people who smoke in public and anyone who have unmuzzled children in public. Ohh and people who walk in the road even though there is a footpath next to them.

B-}

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IT Angle

That's odd...

I would have expected the trial to proceed in the defendant's absence, as she has deliberately chosen to behave in a manner prohibited in court - much as an habitually unruly defendant may (depending on jurisdiction) be excluded.

Anyway, IT angle?

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IT angle?

Presumably the judge or magistrate could order a defendant before them to remove their veil, and order the police to arrest them and lock them up for contempt of court if they didn't. Once arrested, they could forcibly remove the veil and confiscate it as evidence.

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Joke

Surely...

By turning up to the hearing with the garment on, she was guilty?

Like turning up to a murder trial with a dead body flung over your shoulder..

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Headmaster

Um.

Presumably that'd be a new dead body though, right? You wouldn't be allowed to bring the one you were on trial for (allegedly) killing...

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OK, I'll bite

برقع‎

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Mushroom

Says it all..

A more likely outcome, the Telegraph notes, is that the matter will end up before the European Court of Human Rights.

And whats the bets that WE end up footing the bill as the floodgates are opened...

They will foricibly take DNA and fingerprints in this country. Forcibly remove the burkah...

Just saying.........

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Holmes

"end up before the European Court of Human Rights"

Good. Silly people with their Authoritah! complex.

Either they agree with the ECHR - Article 9 says everyone has "the freedom of thought, conscience and religion" - or they don't.

If they want to repeal that part of the law, then let them do so and be seen for what they are.

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Yeah well

Try showing up in court in a Mickey Mouse mask, see where that gets you.

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Anonymous Coward

Almost done before...

... Dave Courtney has turned up at court several times in full head to toe costume, and in once instance I recall he was dressed up as a court jester to indicate his contempt of court. In all cases he was aquitted and allowed to go free.

A free person cannot legally be forced to dress or undress in a particular way. If "innocent until proven guilty" is to stand, then likewise these people cannot be assumed guilty and judged and sentenced before the trial occurs.

This woman found a loophole in the law just like the lawyer who discovered that you can send back the form telling the police who was driving the car at the time of an infraction, but you don't have to sign it (as the police have no powers to force you to sign anything). The same happenned here. The woman could not legally be forced to undress, therefore cannot be found in contempt of court when she turns up in court dressed in a manner for which she has not been tried or found guilty of.

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Burqa?

I thought they banned the niqab, the face-veil? Think of burqa as the 'union set' of the three Islamic coverings ;)

That aside, her arguing it being part of her religion opens a difficult discussion:

1) Is it? I'm under the impression that even Muslims don't agree whether the niqab is a requirement

2) Should someone's religious views enable them to avoid standing trial or giving a defence?

Not easy. All eyes are on France

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Re: Burqa?

> I thought they banned the niqab, the face-veil?

AFAIK the way the law is phrased is to forbid anyone (male or female) from covering their face in a public place in such a way that they are unidentifable. It includes scarves, helmets and balaclavas. There is no specific mention of any cultural or religious item like a burqa or niqab.

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Silver badge
FAIL

Seriously?

1. Charge her with Contempt of court.

2. Arrest and process her.

3. Put her in the prison orange jumper (or equivalent).

4. Trot her back to court for original charge and contempt of court charge.

Done.

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FAIL

No No No Nooooo

"It forces me to dress a certain way, when all I want to do is live according to my religion"

Islam does NOT require a burka or full face covering of any sort.

This is a cultural choice, not a religous choice.

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Happy

برقع‎

Easy, it's spelled برقع‎

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Mushroom

Pedantic Fail....

"It forces me to dress a certain way" No it doesn't, it stops you from dressing a certain way - there are countless dozens of other ways to dress that are still legal in France.

"all I want to do is live according to my religion." -you were dressed according to your culture, not your religion. The two might be related, but not the same.

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Happy

Opposite end of the clothing spectrum I know but ...

... there are some formal similarities to a case I read about years ago, about a young lady arrested for bathing naked in one of America's National Parks, an offence against local bye-laws. She refused to dress, but more importantly she refused to identify herself, a requirement before any charge could be brought. How the officer managed to bring the charge was not given in the account I read, though it was suggested that she might have had a distinguishing mark somewhere.

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FAIL

Nothing to do with religion

The burqa has nothing to do with religion. It is not demanded or prescribed by the koran.

Ask Queen Rania - http://uk.wrs.yahoo.com/_ylt=A7x9QV7uePtNwBUASvtLBQx.;_ylu=X3oDMTE1djUzZHRsBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDMgRjb2xvA2lyZAR2dGlkA1NNRVVLMDFfNzU-/SIG=12jkipiu2/EXP=1308354926/**http%3a//www.thepunch.com.au/articles/the-truth-behind-the-burqa/ - ergo, nothing to do with religion.

It is purely cultural, and is part of a culture that castrates young girls, etc., etc. and its practitioners deserve to be castrated themselves.

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WTF?

do me a favour

"Ask Queen Rania"

You what?

I'm about as likely to be interested in Queen Rania's thoughts on interpretation of Islamic religious doctrine as in Prince Harry's thoughts on post-Soviet environmental movements. Why would anyone care what the thoughts of some posh dizzy PR girl on the issue were?

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Unhappy

castrate??

I understood it to be more like circumcision. In order to technically be castration, wouldn't it need to involve the ovaries? I don't think they cut that deep?

So ban it all then, including peircings and tatoos and branding.

But seriously, nobody should be allowed to do that shit to children, male or female.

Vomiting icon please.

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WTF?

Have you people heard yourselves?

You want to jail this woman for the way she dresses?

When were these forums taken over by Stormfront.com?

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Anonymous Coward

Well...

Bank and petrol stations get very arsy with me if I don't remove my crash helmet, and I dare say trying to go through airport security would be "interesting" too.

It's about verifying identity, and in the case of a court of law, reading facial expressions when you are questioning them about a crime.

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Anonymous Coward

Jail for the way one dresses

Admittedly unlikely scenario, and admittedly one that makes me sound like a Daily Mail reader (I'm not), however.....how about if somebody walked around with a T-shirt featuring a clear photograph of somebody sexually abusing a child.

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FAIL

No, we want her to be fined 140 nicker

The burqa (or burka?) is a cultural symbol imposed by men on women in a society where men feel that they cannot control their sexual urges without making all women hide themselves.

As far as I'm concerned, those men have the problem not the women.

Every woman that stands up in public and says that it is her choice and right to wear this thing might be speaking the truth. But they are also letting their persecuted sisters down by giving the garment a legitimacy that it does not deserve. It has nothing to do with religion and certainly doesn't have anything to do with the 21st century.

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I know someone who went to jail for growing a plant

can you weep some tears of impotent rage for him, too?

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Don't watch TV much then ?

>> and I dare say trying to go through airport security would be "interesting" too

Actually no, no problem at all - at least according to that documentary series they did at Heathrow a while ago. A female official will take the woman to one side where she can show her face without risk of being seen by a man - identified by comparison with her passport photo, problem solved.

As for jailing this woman for contempt, I think she's love that and the publicity it would get. Her defence would be that she turned up to the court and was refused admittance - and there is ample evidence it appears that she did attempt to attend and was indeed refused access.

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Anonymous Coward

@ skelband

"The burqa (or burka?) is a cultural symbol imposed by men on women in a society where men feel that they cannot control their sexual urges without making all women hide themselves."

So you want the state to persecute her because she's being possibly intimidated into wearing a burqa?

You want her fined and potentially jailed for fighting this because she's isn't some sort of religious activist?

How many things do you disagree with that you aren't campaigning against? how many of these lapses in motivation should you be fined for?

Racists manage to find all sorts of nonsense to justify their prejudice but contempt of court and being oppressed by their family and peers are new ones on me.

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Facepalm

the key words here are IN PUBLIC

If you want to walk down a street or through a park with your helmet on, you might get a few funny looks but no-one is going to arrest you.

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Surely...

IIRC, their ill-founded belief that covering is required by their religion, only applies to hiding themselves from men, so just stick them in front of a female magistrate. Slap with fine.

Simples.

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Mushroom

why

why encourage sexism ?

why are these sexist females (we assume they are female; but can't see) allowed to demand special treatment based on their sex ?

Why are they allowed to commit a sexual hate crime against me - they don't know me; why are they allowed to assume based only on my sex; that I intend them harm.

No male is allowed to refuse to deal with some one else because they are female; why are these females allowed to demand that they only deal with women. The only time that is appropriate behaviour is during body and/or strip searches.

Where are all the feminists demanding equal rights ? - oh that's right - two legs good four legs bad (or two mammaries good; 2 testes bad)

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Anonymous Coward

Is it OK...

... to wear a burqa for non-religious reasons?

... to wear a veil to a funeral or wedding, or because you are a beekeeper or a goth?

... to wear a carnival mask?

etc.

This is bad lawmaking because it's unenforceable, inconsistent, and repressive. The 'right' way to discourage burqa wearing (if it's even necessary to do so) is through rational discourse.

This law will fade away like those archaic statutes banning moustaches for dogs, or whatever.

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Rational discourse

tends to fly out of the window when god-bothering is involved.

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Silver badge
FAIL

The law is phrased as "Covering your face so you cannot be identified"

So yes, it covers all of the above.

It doesn't cover everywhere or everywhen - I forget the specifics, but it's actually a simple extension of rules that exist in all European countries.

Try getting a passport in any European country without showing your face.

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Anonymous Coward

So it will also cover?

CRS riot police wearing gas masks?

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Pint

ku klux klan

Also a "religion" with all the rights to appear at any occasion in their favourite outfit?.

Are these burqa women allowed to pass customs too without showing their face or is the photo in the passport a burqa face. Or are they just mentioned in their men's passport as "luggage".

Very simple really, in court you show your face, and that is not anti this or that just common sense.

It would surprise me if they are allowed to appear in burqa in every Islam state.

A disgusting thing forced upon women bye stupid men.

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Pint

"The French believe in Nudity"

Surely, this would be an appropriate title?

Its Ok to go topless in Paris parks and other French beaches in the summer, but a woman (whatever the religion) isnt allowed to cover her face (in public), even to hide her blushes at these topless women?

Does she have identity card? Passport photos to identify here in some way?

Wait a minute, must be Bin Laden/Zawahri in hiding....

Forget it.... Its Friday .. beer time to drown our own sorrows.

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Anonymous Coward

Passport photos

But how can you know the photographs are of her, unless she removes the clothing?

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Anonymous Coward

Trousers

I wonder which way these comments would have gone if the law had instead been to ban the wearing of trousers by women, for example. I suspect the outrage would have been against the law, for trying to dictate people's personal choice of clothing.

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Trousers

Amusingly enough, there is a never-repealed law dating from the French revolution which does indeed forbid women from wearing trousers in public, unless they are holding the handlebars of a bicycle.

What makes it especially fun is that trousers are a required part of a gendarme's uniform, even for women...

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Flame

Clear contempt of court

Her showing up and refusing to remove her mask sounds like a very clear case of contempt of court, she should have been jailed immediately and stayed there until she was willing to remove her mask. Is there any historical precedent of allowing a person to wear a mask in court?

The covering of women's faces is a cultural artifact that is not a fundamental part of the religion, it is like Christians who wear a cross; does anyone really think that Jesus wore a cross or told his followers to wear one?

These people need to be re-educated by true Muslims.

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clear case of contempt?

So you and others have been saying in the comments here. However, read the article and you'll see that she presented herself at the appropriate time, but was not allowed in. Hence the catch-22 situation described in the article. And the sub-head. Seriously...

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Anonymous Coward

About time

The French look bloody stupid. Has the whole country got a Napoleon complex? I can understand the language paranoia in state related stuff but forcing it on private entities is ridiculous. This is much worse: "Our culture is so weak we need to ban anything we perceive to be against it."

@Michelle Knight: That's a pathetic and facile argument. The Koran is only one of a number of major religious books that define various aspects of Islam. If she says that wearing a burqa is part of her religion, who the hell are you to tell her otherwise? And what's all that bollocks about castrating girls? Again, a part of some forms of a religion at least as varied and complex as Christianity. It's got nothing to do with this argument. And I like the "castration's bad unless the state's doing it" line. Are you American?

Don't worry though, you're no more stupid, bigoted and arrogant than the other students of religion and Islamic clerics commenting on this article. (I didn't know El Reg was so popular amongst such erudite and studious people.) You just happened to be at the bottom of page 1.

Where will you all be when "they" start banning aspects of your religion? Whining, I have no doubt.

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