For at least one judge in Saudi Arabia, a woman's professional qualifications are not enough for her to work as a lawyer at a public court house.
A female lawyer in Riyadh was reportedly kicked out of a courthouse after a judge was angered by the fact that she was not wearing the "niqab" — a tradition face veil for Muslim women.
The case went viral after it was highlighted on Saudi channel MBC's show "Ma'ali Al Mowaten."
Abdul Rahman Al Lahem, a lawyer who hired the Saudi woman as an intern at his firm, revealed the details of the incident.
"During a session at Riyadh's public court house, we were all sitting in an office, working on filing routine reports, when a judge walked in and saw us. Angered by the fact that my colleague wasn't wearing a face veil, something he believes is haram (unacceptable) in Islam, he called security and police authorities on her. They then arrived and forcefully removed her from the building," Al Lahem said, according to StepFeed media website.
Al Lahem also remarked the judge simply booted the female intern, not because he disapproved of her work, but because of his personal beliefs.
The MBC episode quickly drew the attention of authorities. Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Qassem, assistant deputy minister of Saudi Arabia's authority for Judicial Affairs, said in a statement the case wasn't as simple as Al Lahem portrayed it.
Al Qassem said the "young lawyer didn't have the correct ID documents to enter the building she was in. This, along with a few other things, led security officers to escort her out of the building."
Meanwhile, the woman in question has reportedly filed a lawsuit and her case is further being investigated.
Saudi Arabia, an ultraconservative Islamic country, has a notoriously clear set of rules regarding the type of clothes that should be worn for all genders. Men must wear full-length pants and shirts. Men are not allowed to don “unislamic hairstyles” such as mohawks, and mustn’t sport any kind of jewelry except for a ring and wrist watch. Women are required to wear headscarves and loose fitting black gowns, and the face veil is not mandatory.
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