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Woman ordered by judge to remove hijab seeks clearer rules

Press Trust of India  |  Toronto 

A Muslim woman in Canada, who was asked by a Quebec Court judge to remove her hijab during a hearing las year, today asked a Superior Court to clarify the rules governing religious attire.

Rania El-Alloul was told by Judge Eliana Marengo El-Alloul during a hearing in February 2015 that that a courtroom was a secular space, and she was not suitably dressed.

El-Alloul said she would only hear El-Alloul's case if she removed her hijab.

At the time, El-Alloul was in court trying to get her car back after it had been seized by Quebec's automobile insurance board.

The judge also compared the hijab to a hat and sunglasses, which would not normally be allowed in court.

The specific rule about attire in Quebec courtrooms simply states that people appearing before judges must be "suitably dressed," with no further explanation.

The case sparked outrage across the country, with many lawyers offering to represent El-Alloul and people offering money to help cover her legal bills, suggesting that her charter rights had been violated.

El-Alloul's lawyers asked Quebec Superior Court Justice Wilbrod Decarie today for a declaratory judgment - essentially a ruling that would clarify that hijabs and other religious attire are permitted in Quebec courtrooms and that a judge can't refuse to hear witnesses on that basis.

Julius Grey and Catherine McKenzie argued that such a ruling is necessary so people who wear religious attire know if they can be heard in Quebec courts.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, September 23 2016. 22:42 IST