Rania El-Alloul was in court because her car was impounded after her son was caught driving with a suspended license.
She wanted her car back. The judge wanted her to remove her head covering, and cited court rules that prohibit inappropriate dress while appearing before a magistrate.
The voice of the judge, Eliana Marengo, can be heard on an audio recording saying, "Hats and sunglasses for example, are not allowed. And I don't see why scarves on the head would be either."
The judge also used the prohibition of religious symbols as cause to refuse the case.
El-Alloul complained that she didn't feel Canadian, but didn't seem to mind not looking like a Canadian.
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"When I swore by God to be a good Canadian citizen I was wearing my hijab, and the judge, I shook hands with him the same day I became Canadian. I was really very happy. But what happened in court made me feel afraid. I felt that I'm not Canadian anymore."
El-Alloul said she's speaking out because she doesn't want what happened to her to happen to any other Muslim woman.
"When she insisted I should remove my hijab, really I felt like she was talking with me as... not a human being. I don't want this thing to happen to any other lady. This is not the work of a judge. She doesn't deserve to be a judge."
Judge Marengo did not respond to CBC's request for comment.
Annie-Claude Bergeron, spokesperson for the Chief Judge of the Quebec Court, said she was aware of the case, but that it's "up to the judge to apply or interpret the law the way they see it."
Regulations make no reference to headscarves
During the proceeding, Judge Marengo cited Article 13 of the regulations of the Court of Quebec. That article states: "Any person appearing before the court must be suitably dressed."
Article 13 makes no specific reference to headscarves or any other garments.
Sameer Zuberi is a board member with the Canadian Muslim Forum and a graduate of the law program at l'Université du Québec à Montréal. He says he's flabbergasted.
Image credit: msn.com ####
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