Small clash of civilizations in New Zealand. From DPA, with thanks to Ali Dashti:
WELLINGTON – In a milestone judgment, a New Zealand judge ruled on Monday that two Muslim women must remove their veils when giving evidence in a fraud case, though they will be screened from general public view.
Anjum Rihman from the Islamic Women’s Council told Radio New Zealand it would be the first time for many years that anyone outside their immediate family would see their faces.
One of the women, Afghani Fouzya Salim, who has lived in New Zealand nearly 10 years but still wears her traditional all-enveloping burqa that leaves only a slit for her eyes, told an Auckland court late last year she “would be in trouble with God” if she removed her veil and would rather kill herself.
The issue arose when Colin Amery, lawyer for the defendant in the case, asked the court to insist Salim and her friend Feraiba Razamjoo remove their veils when giving testimony so that he and the judge could assess their demeanour in the witness box.
After taking several weeks to consider his verdict, the judge ruled the women should be unveiled before the judge, lawyers and female court staff but could be screened from the public gallery and others.