Muslim woman becomes first hijab-wearing judge in UK

 Source: The National

Aaffia Arshad, 40, says her promotion is great news for diversity in the UK legal system

A woman in Britain who has become the first judge in the western world to wear a hijab hopes to be an inspiration to young Muslims.

Aaffia Arshad, 40, who grew up in Yorkshire, north England, has wanted to work in law since she was 11 years old.

Ms Arshad, a barrister, was last week appointed a deputy district judge on the Midlands circuit.

She said her promotion was great news for diversity in the world’s most respected legal system.

Ms Arshad said the judicial office was looking to promote diversity, but when they appointed her they did not know that she wore the hijab.

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10 replies

  1. I’m just glad that another woman has made it to the top. Equality still has some way to go, but is at least moving in the right direction, and hopefully will continue to do so. It’s not so long ago that men were wearing wigs in court, so a hijab is perhaps not so different.

  2. I would consider seeing natural hair far more ‘pretty’. It shouldn’t be hidden away for the benefit of men. An Abrahamic dictate, but we have outgrown that. Men don’t own women. Yes, women can now become judges, as well as surgeons, engineers, directors of companies, etc., once denied to women, and not so long ago, and all controlled by men. They can now also show their arms and legs without it being a fetish, along with the symbolic head covering. as in the Victorian era, when even table legs had to be covered up, in case they excited men. Crazy! So change does come, if often too slowly. But change comes mainly from liberated male mindsets (and, thankfully, there are some), and women who have struggled for change. I certainly don’t look forward to seeing more hijabs in non-Muslim countries. Some decades ago, our female friends were not wearing hijabs, looking ‘pretty’ in saris and salwar kamis. but over the past few years I have noticed that they have become more orthodox in their dress. And that isn’t exclusive to Ahmadies. What is it all about? Well, I do know, but I won’t spell it out here, will leave it to others to come up with a comment/opinion.

    • strange that you say ‘for the benefit of men’. Ask the judge and I am sure she will tell you that it is her decision to wear the hijab and not her husband’s.

  3. It was men who first dictated that women should have their hair covered, as it was for the pleasure of men only to see. An Abrahamic dictum. Nowadays there are different interpretations, with many women claiming that it is an instruction by God or to show they revere their God. But many also are under pressure from their families, husbands and communities to remain covered, and there is also a general movement back to tradition. I can see it among the Ahmadies too. I’ve lived among them long enough to see what is going on. Let me repeat again that it is not necessary to cover up to show that you are a decent person, it is what’s inside head and heart that counts. Head coverings are for protecting against the elements, heat, cold, rain, snow. And women are capable of making their own decisions. If only men would remember that!

    • I can only speak about my personal example. My Pakistani wife would not have married me if I would have told her to take off her hijab. Even now if I would tell her now she would disobey me and tell me off. My Indonesian wife did not wear a hijab at the time of marriage but started to put it on when we moved to Jordan (without my ‘pressure’). Now in Indonesia she has many friends who do not wear hijab (and some who do), but she wants to keep it on (again without my pressure). Well she has friends that drink alcoholic drinks also, when they start drinking she says ‘and now it is time for me to leave’. Again, yes, free choice.

  4. Well, at least you are suggesting ‘free choice’, but that is not the case in many Muslim countries and communities. Face coverings and multiple wives are other man-made creations in the Muslim world. Thankfully those don’t exist in the Christian teachings. But the world is constantly changing, so let us hope for better things to come, although that is probably more a dream than a reality.

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