Here Comes the Judge

Filed under:It's the Jihad — posted by Anwyn on February 20, 2007 @ 6:32 pm

It happened last year but deserves to be known. Guts on the bench: telling CAIR to stay out of it as well as schooling them on Islamic law. Mike Lief has the full text of the judge’s letter to CAIR, which says in part:

Frankly, I cannot understand why you have framed this as a religious rights issue, when both Islamic law and American jurisprudence recognize that witnesses have to be seen, as well as heard, in court. Even those conservative Islamic scholars who hold that women are obliged to cover their faces make exceptions for business and legal dealings, and state that considerations of fairness require a woman to remove her veil when she is giving testimony in court or when others testify against her. In keeping with this principle, other women who have come to my court wearing the niqab have removed it to testify.


  1. Good for the judge.

    This is interesting, because there was just a somewhat similar incident near my university in California. Not a court case, but a Sikh student was denied entry to a student organization party at a bar that has a policy not to allow headware of any kind. The policy applied to anything worn on the head, not just religious headwear, nor any particular religion’s headware. Presumably a Catholic nun or Jewish rabbi would have been similarly impacted. In this instance, however, the bar is now being sued for violating the guy’s civil rights by some Sikh anti-discrimination group, despite abjectly apologizing and agreeing to make a religious exception to their dress code. The school organization has also announced that they won’t hold any future events at the bar…

    While I can sympathize with the student for being inconvenienced, what some people don’t seem to get that there is no constitutional protection from inconvenience. The bar’s policy was did not discriminate against him on the basis of his religion. I mean, suppose I invent or join (since I live in California, it surely already exists) a religion that forbids me to wear clothing, or to bathe, or mandates some other behavior that is unusual by prevailing social conventions. Can I then sue a restaurant that won’t admit me unclothed for violating my civil rights?

    Comment by LagunaDave — February 20, 2007 @ 8:30 pm

  2. While I can sympathize with the student for being inconvenienced, what some people don’t seem to get that there is no constitutional protection from inconvenience.

    Not only that, a lot of people don’t seem to realize that freedom of speech and the other rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights are not secured from abuse by just anyone–that is, the Bill of Rights exists to prevent the *government* from abusing them. The student would have no free speech case because a bar is a private entity.

    Comment by Anwyn — February 21, 2007 @ 9:35 am

  3. Yes, although there is also legislation against discrimination. It is illegal – and rightly so – for a business to refuse to serve someone because they are black, Jewish, etc.

    I think the problem is that the courts have interpreted those to be that even when there is no intention to discriminate, and service is not denied on the basis of race, religion, sex, etc, it is still discrimination if it *affects* someone due to their membership in one of the “protected” categories. And to me, that seems like overreach.

    Comment by LagunaDave — February 21, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  4. I agree, for the most part. I’m reminded of the employee of British Airways who wasn’t allowed to wear her cross even though her Sikh coworker could wear his iron bangle, but that’s more about fairness across the board, not the original rule.

    Comment by Anwyn — February 21, 2007 @ 9:57 am

  5. The other problem with the interpretation I mentioned is that it effectively perverts the anti-discrimination laws into creating a privileged class, on the basis of religion, race, etc.

    In the restaurant case, for instance, if they make an exception for the Sikh guy, but forbid me from wearing a non-religious hat, then it seems I could claim I am being “discriminated” against (i.e. inconvenienced) for being a non-Sikh…the other guy is allowed to wear his choice of headgear *because* of his religion, while I am treated differently.

    Oh what a tangled web we weave, when the courts start legislating…

    Comment by LagunaDave — February 21, 2007 @ 10:05 am

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