Niqab Or No Niqab In Canada?

Rose DiManno, writing in the Toronto Star, raises issues concerning a current case in the Canadian court system in which a judge has ruled that a woman who charges she was assaulted must reveal her entire face to the defendant on the ground the accused has a right to confront the accuser. Judge Norris Weisman said the woman did not have a right to wear her niqab because the man who is accused of the crime has a right to see the face of the person making charges against him. Ms. DiManno argues there is no iron clad rule the accused has a right to physically confront the accuser and notes that children are protected and, in certain cases, women can be shown on a TV monitor to the defendant. “The law is a living thing,” notes the reporter, and, in this case, the woman has the right to wear her niqab in accordance with her religious and cultural belief.

The issue is never either-or and law can show some flexibility. An issue is which rights does the accused possessed in such a situation. In this case, the charge is a physical assault which would suggest, the accused at least has the right to see the woman making the charge. The judge pointed out the woman felt it was OK to get a driver’s license without displaying her face.

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