Britain’s First Hijab Wearing Judge - A Huge Step Forward

It seems strange sometimes, that in 2020 we are still seeing ‘firsts’ such as this.

We are fortunate to live in an incredibly diverse and relatively safe country, however the fact that perceived social and cultural barriers are still having to be knocked down, is proof perhaps that we still have a long way to go.

That said, every barrier that is knocked down, should still be celebrated all the same.

The latest barrier to fall in the legal world involves the hijab…

To say that this hugely significant piece of Muslim women’s dress has had a rough ride over the last few decades, would be something of an understatement.

Many Muslim women have opted to lose the hijab for a number of different reasons, but for those who still proudly wear the traditional item, the world can be a judgmental and unkind place.

‘BAN THE BURKA’ and ‘NO MORE HIJABS’ have been the headline calls of some media outlets for a while now, whilst the PM himself, Boris Johnson, also landed himself in hot water with a comparison to post boxes.

Whatever your personal opinion, it is undoubtable that many Muslim women have faced unfair prejudice and discrimination as a result of wearing the hijab, throughout the western world.

One woman who has overcome that prejudice, and who is proudly inspiring others to do the same, is Ms. Raffia Arshad, the new deputy district judge on the Midlands circuit.

Ms. Arshad recalls how she has been mistaken for a client in court, by an usher no less, and whilst she holds no grudge against those who mistake her for someone else, she sees this as evidence of the lack of diversity within the judicial system.

Ms. Arshad is hugely experienced in a wide range of legal matters, and has been dealing with cases specifically involving Islamic law for nearly 20 years already. Her involvement in cases dealing with forced marriage and female genital mutilation stand her in good stead to deal with our changing society, and the difficult cases that must be handled in the courts.

We see Ms. Arshad is an inspiration to everyone, but she sums up her influence best in her own words…

“It’s important for all women, not just Muslim women, but it is particularly important for Muslim women.”

We couldn’t agree more.


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