Headscarf Wars In Denmark

Perhaps, since the sixties when adults became furious at long hair worn by young boys and girls leading even judges to force haircuts for those up for trial has there been such controversy as to what happens on the head of people. Denmark has banned its judges from wearing a headscarf in a courtroom on grounds it is necessary to ensure the accused peace of mind the judge is impartial and will not use an individual’s religion in rendering decisions. Brian Mikkelsen, Minister of Justice, argued: “we’re addressing the rise of religious fundamentalism in the public domain.” So, what is the relation between religious fundamentalism and a judge wearing a headscarf?

The law has been criticized by a host of lawyers and judges who believe it insults every judge by assuming the individual’s religious beliefs would enter into making judicial decisions. The entire issue arose because a single Muslim woman said if she became a judge she would wear the headscarf. Certainly, before making such rash decisions it might be advisable to wait until at least one defendant raises a complaint?