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‘You are not suitably dressed’: Quebec judge to hijab wearing woman

‘You are not suitably dressed’: Quebec judge to hijab wearing woman


(February 26, 2015) – “In my opinion, you are not suitably dressed,” Judge Eliana Marengo told hijab wearing Rania El-Alloul Tuesday, according to a courtroom recording obtained by the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

“Decorum is important. Hats and sunglasses, for example, are not allowed, and I don’t see why scarves on the head would be. The same rules need to be applied to everyone,” said Judge Marengo.

Rania El-Alloul told the judge she is a Muslim.

Judge Marengo responded to El-Alloul that she could either remove her headscarf or ask for a postponement in order to consult a lawyer.

El-Alloul went to the court trying to get her car back because it was seized by the Quebec automobile insurance board.

In a CBC interview, El-Alloul said she couldn’t believe what was happening.

“When I came the first day when I made landing in Canada, I was wearing my hijab,” she said.

“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.”

Sameer Zuberi, a board member with the Canadian Muslim Forum, told CBC, “This is really just a no-brainer.”

“The judge should have known better. It’s not the first time somebody walks into a courtroom with a religious dress. Jews, men who wear the kippa, have been here for decades and they’ve certainly been involved in a courtroom setting.”

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  • jj1954

    Is IQRA doing anything to appeal what happened to Rania Alloul? It is my belief that this judge denied Ms. Alloul her fundamental rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms protecting her freedom of religious practices. Of all people, this judge should have, and probably did, know better, and should be held to a higher standard and thus should be harshly sanctioned for bigotry, some actually define her action as a hate crime due to her discrimination of Rania’s religious beliefs. The hate and intolerance that is building in Canada due to the increase in terrorism around the world and the related ignorance of many Western people in thinking all Muslims are terrorists needs to be halted and replaced with understanding and acceptance. We need to start a dialogue to teach those uninformed the truth of Islam and immigrants from the Middle East in general and to counteract the fear mongering led by our present government. I think IQRA is the perfect voice to keep this issue in the forefront of the public domain in Canada, to help bring us back to the compassionate and open-minded culture you we used to have.

  • Nagib Mrsd

    I think fears mongering against Muslims have less to do with terrorism but more to do with immigration and multiculturalism in Europe. Canadians fear what is happening in Europe with Muslim communities might happen here.

  • jj1954

    Sadly, I think it’s both. Canada is becoming like the U.S., with our government and the conservatives in particular, trying to stir up fear amongst those who are already untrusting of cultures and religions they are unfamiliar with, especially pre-existing racists and bigots. Just as the republicans did in the states. C-51 is our version of the U.S. Patriot Act. Then you add what’s happening in Europe and that helps Stir things more over here. My only hope is that just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that the Patriot Act was illegal and too far reaching and must be scaled back. So I’m hoping this will help more Canadians see how bad C-51 really is for Canada. And that they’ll vote Harper and his crew out of power at last. I’ve lived here all my life – 60 yrs – and it breaks my heart to see what’s happening here and how bigoted and racist we’re becoming. It wasn’t like this before. The multicultural aspect of Canada and our acceptance and welcoming attitude towards refugees and immigrants was what made us, and me, very proud. Now I feel ashamed sometimes. We can only pray that God/Allah will watch over us and keep us honest and open hearted.