Head scarf-clad New Zealand Muslim woman barred from entering courtroom

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Wellington, Sep 2 (ANI): A Muslim woman, who was barred from entering a Hastings courtroom because she refused to take off her headscarf, will lodge a complaint with the country's Human Rights Commission.

Yasmeen Ali said she had gone to the Hastings District Court on Tuesday morning to support her brother, who was being sentenced, Hawke's Bay Today reported.

When she arrived she was allowed to stay in the courtroom for a short time, despite being asked to remove the scarf by a court officer.

However, after the morning break, when Ali tried to go back into the courtroom, she was told that the presiding judge, Judge Geoff Rea, had ordered that she not to be allowed in wearing the scarf.

Ali said: "It is disgusting behaviour and I should not be treated like this and I do not think any other Muslim woman should be treated like this."

A Ministry of Justice spokeswoman said the ministry did not comment on judicial decisions.

"The presiding judge has jurisdiction over proceedings in the courtroom."

Ali's brother, Carlos Manuel Brooking, 22, was waiting to appear for sentence on a charge of common assault.

He was asked by the judge to remove his hat. Brooking removed the headdress, but was reluctant to remove the smaller garment underneath. He then walked out of court and was taken into custody.

Later in the dock he apologised saying he had recently become a Muslim. On the assault charge he was sentenced to 125 hours of community work. (ANI)

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