Jordanian court: Women not wearing hijab are unfit to testify in court



AMMAN- A court ruling in Jordan that women not wearing hijab (a head cover) are unfit to testify as witnesses in front of the judge stirs controversy and angers activists.

The  court’s ruling, which was published by the daily newspaper al-Ghad, cites a fatwa by Egyptian cleric, Yousif Qaradawi, based on which the court issued a decision that women showing their hair is considered a form of “Debauchery”. Thus, their testimony “will not be accepted.”

The decision angered women’s rights activists. The Jordanian Women Union issued a statement condemning the decision.

“This is a violation of women’s rights. It contradicts personal freedom which was guaranteed by  Jordanian laws and constitution,” a statement published by JWU.

Lawyer Hala Ayed, who works for JWU, described the decision as alarming in a telephone interview with AWMWC.

“This is very dangerous and we should not remain silent as this will impact women’s eligibility to testify in court,” she said.

‘The decision could even extend to threaten unveiled women’s eligibility to work as lawyers and judges in the future’, she warned.

“In this country, we need to define our identity,” Ayed said.

“We present a liberal image about Jordan to the west, but inside we apply Sharia laws only when it comes to women,” she noted.

On Monday, Jordan’s General Iftaa Department (GID) refused to issue fatwa regarding a recent decision by a judge in one of Amman’s courts to refuse the testimony of a witness in one court case because she was not wearing Hijab.

In a statement carried out by state-run news agency (Petra) GID said since the case was still looked by court, it will not issue a fatwa in order “to protect the transparency and independence of the judiciary system.”


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