Nobody knows, nobody sees
I came across this analysis on Beautiful Muslimah which should be shared. Here's an excerpt:
Although I don’t personally share the complainant’s opinions on niqab, I’m disturbed by the judge’s presumption that he had the authority to draw conclusions on her religiosity and on the religious and personal importance of the niqab to her. Moreover, the idea of religious “comfort” - whether or not niqab is seen as a religious obligation - should not be brushed aside, especially in a case dealing with sexual assault. I’m also concerned that the language around the “11th hour” revelation makes it sound as if the woman was being purposely deceitful and attempting to manipulate the court into allowing her to testify with her face covered. There might have been decent reasons for forcing the complainant to show her face (although I would likely still disagree), but making a decision based on judgments about her religious commitment seems really inappropriate.
For the record, the writer -- and you should read her entire blog entry -- takes issue with some of my previous posts on this issue.
I have been contemplating this case non-stop since it crossed the news radar last week and Muslimah's musings strike me as the most on-point. The woman's ''religiosity'' should not be up for judicial deliberation. It doesn't matter if she has been veiled for 10 years or 10 months or 10 days. Her religious choice is her religious choice.
That said, I am still disturbed by the idea of women in shrouds. I don't care what the religion is. Anything that puts women at a physical, psychological and/or emotional disadvantage is just plain offensive to me.
But it's not the court's business.
Surely there must be a way to allow this woman to maintain her veil of comfort while putting her on the stand. All kinds of measures are employed when children testify and also to shield witnesses from potential identification in certain cases.
Exposing this woman could only constitute a revictimization, while ensuring the dismissal of the rape charges if the woman here would prefer to shut up to avoid suffering more indignity in court.
Considering at least one recent case in a school, where a Muslim girl was targeted because the perpetrators know that the girls will not report sexual attacks out of shame, we're just increasing the odds that girls suffer in silence.
I have the sense here that the defendant side is exploiting the victim's beliefs to get off the hook.
So I guess I am on the side of letting this woman remain veiled, or hidden.
UPPITY DATE: That Beautiful Muslimah post to which I link above, originally came from Krista at Muslimah Media Watch.