German judge bans headscarf for Muslim woman in court

Observer Report

Luckenwalde, Germany

A German judge reportedly banned a Muslim woman from appearing in court without removing her headscarf. According to the The Independent, the incident occurred in the in the district court of Luckenwalde, Brandenberg when the judge banned a Syrian woman from appearing in court with her headscarf saying that “religiously-motivated” clothing was not allowed in the courtroom.
Najat Abokal, the lawyer representing the woman, said the order came during divorce proceedings between her client and her husband. The order put Najat’s client in a bind as she said it warned the women of legal action if she did not comply with the judge’s wishes but also told her that she had to appear in the court personally in order to present the case against her husband.
Najat has said that she would contest the order as the judge was acting “unconstitutionally”. Klaus F Gärditz, a law professor at Bonn’s Friedrich-Wilhelms University, has also spoken out against the judge’s order stating that it was just an attempt to demean the woman and that it violated her freedom of speech.
Klaus also accused the judge of being raciest and of pursuing “sexism under the pretext of following legal procedures” in a piece for the Legal Tribune Online.
However, official reactions to the order were far less sympathetic. A spokesperson for the district court in Luckenwalde refused to comment on the issue, only stating that the judge was responsible for conduct within the courtroom.
The incident comes as a fierce debate continues in Germany over the topic of Islamic dress. The issue gained attention throughout the country after the German parliament voted in favour of a partial ban on the burqa and other Islamic veils.

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