Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Veils and Religious freedom

My local Christian radio station has me riled up - again.

Yesterday morning they reported a story about a Muslim woman whose case was thrown out of court because she refused to remove her veil to testify. It was one of the veils that only shows the eyes, and the judge didn't think he could accurately judge whether she was telling the truth if he couldn't see her face.

They also mentioned another case where a woman wanted to have her driver's license photo taken with her veil on, and was refused. My morning co-hosts pointed out that this was a case of religious freedom versus our customary ways of preserving justice, but ultimately they seemed to think that maybe it was appropriate for these women to have been denied their requests.

I guess the thing that frustrated me most is that i've listened to these guys for a while, and as far as i can tell, if the tables were reversed, they'd be on the side of "religious freedom." If there was a Christian group who believed that Christians should wear veils, and they were having problems with the legal system, i really suspect that my co-hosts would have taken their side. But no, these are Muslims.

Of course i'm speculating. But here's another thing - if a Muslim woman has worn a veil in public for ten years of her life, and suddenly has to remove it to testify in court, don't you think she'll be so nervous and feel so awkward that the judge will have a hard time reading her facial expressions anyway? And i'm not sure, but is it allowable for a Muslim woman to unveil herself in a private setting with another woman? If so, could she give her testmiony to a female official and have it recorded?

It seems like there could also be a way for someone to officially register as a veil-wearing Muslim, and then if they're ever seen in public without their veil they could have their priveleges revoked. I just know that if i believed in wearing a veil, i wouldn't want the government to make me remove it.

I want to be nice to my co-hosts so i'll leave them anonymous, but here's a link to a news article about it: Myrtle Beach Online

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