Muslim woman lifts veil to testify in Spanish court
Fatima Hssisni told journalists that she was surprised by the controversy of wearing a burka to testify in court.
Madrid – A Muslim woman testified in court in Madrid Monday with her veil raised and her head turned away from the public, in a deal reached with the judge last week after she had refused to show her face.
Arriving in court covered from head to foot in a black burka, Fatima Hssisni said she was surprised by the controversy surrounding the case.
"The enemy of human beings is ignorance," she told journalists, adding that in other European countries wearing a burka is seen as normal.
The judge last week expelled her from the court for refusing to show her face when testifying in the trial of a group of Islamic extremists.
Hssisni, the sister of an Islamic radical killed in a suicide bombing in Iraq in 2005, told the judge that her religion forbade her from appearing in public without her burka, the all-covering article of clothing worn by some Islamic women.
But after speaking to the judge later in his chambers, a compromise was reached.
On Monday she testified minus the part of her burka which normally covers the face "between the chin and the eyebrows" and with her back turned to the public, an AFP journalist present in the courtroom said.
Spain's conservative opposition leader Mariano Rajoy last week criticised the woman's attitude.
"The freedom to observe customs in private seems fine to me, but in public you have to respect the law," he said.
Only a minority of Muslim women in Spain wear a burka.
AFP / Expatica