I reject most attempts to prevent Muslim women from wearing a niqab or burqa as a violation of their human rights, but a recent case in Denmark raises some interesting questions. A Muslim woman offered evidence in court while wearing a niqab including a veil that covered her face. Prior to appearing in court, she produced a driver’s license to the judge and allowed a female judge to see her without any covering on her face. Here actions undoubtedly provided evidence as to her real identify, but there is also the issue of allowing a jury to see the face of someone who gives testimony.
Anyone familiar with body language knows that when observing people we not only listen to words, but observe facial behavior. The jury had a right to observe the human totality of the witness. If this woman felt comfortable allowing a judge to see her without the veil, then the same opportunity should have been provided the jury.
A woman has a right to be afforded respect for her basic human rights, but there is also the right of others in a trial besides that of the witness.